On-site pharmacists a step closer

Pharmacy Care Academy has been accredited to deliver its education program to the future cohort of aged care embedded pharmacists.

The first training organisation has received the go-ahead to deliver its education program for budding aged care on-site pharmacists, with the inaugural cohort of students starting this month.

The Australian Pharmacy Council notified the Pharmacy Care Academy last week it was now accredited to deliver its combined aged care on-site pharmacist and medication management review pharmacist course to those wishing to work in government’s aged care medicine safety programs.

The combined program features 80 hours of learning including on-site training and assessment, said Pharmacy Care Academy chief executive officer Michael Bonner.

Michael Bonner

“The first cohort of pharmacists will commence the combined ACOP/MMR credentialing on 29 April 2024. The training will occur at an embedded academy located within an aged care facility in Brisbane,” Mr Bonner told Australian Ageing Agenda.

It means “Australia’s first certified credentialed pharmacist will be eligible to receive funding to deliver ACOP services” on 13 May, said Mr Bonner, “triggering the commencement of the government’s $345 million post royal commission commitment to medication safety in residential care.”

There has been some false starts and concerns since the Albanese government announced $345.7 million over four years in March 2022 to embed pharmacists in aged care homes. It then said every aged care facility will be able to employ or engage an on-site pharmacist. But just over a year later, while anouncing the cpeaper mdeicines policy, it said the money would go to community pharmacies instead.

Under this plan, the government is funding community pharmacies to employ pharmacists to work on-site in residential aged care homes in a clinical role. Primary Health Networks will be able to engage pharmacists on behalf of aged care homes to work on-site where community pharmacies are unable or choose not to participate.

Last year, the government contracted the APC to develop accreditation standards and an accreditation system to provide oversight and quality assurance of training programs for pharmacists taking on the role of an aged care on-site pharmacist from the first half of this year.

Pharmacy Care Academy is the only education provider to receive accreditation for its ACOP program to date, according to APC’s website on 16 April. It joins Monash University in being accredited to deliver MMR pharmacist education. The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has an application in progress also for a combined MMR and ACOP program.

Mr Bonner – a clinical pharmacist and chief executive officer and owner of professional services company Choice Aged Care – said Pharmacy Care Academy had 40 training hubs established in aged care homes across Australia to expose pharmacists to the aged care setting before they started their roles.

“Our approach to the on-site pharmacist and medication management review pharmacist training is very much industry facing and by that I mean the aged care sector not necessarily the pharmacy sector,” said Mr Bonner.

The program – which Mr Bonner will also undergo to receive his credentials – is built around three units:

  • preparing pharmacists for the regulatory and quality framework in the aged care setting
  • the roles, workflows and functions that the on-site pharmacists will be conducting
  • leveraging technology to optimise medication safety in the aged care setting.

“Then we wrap all that together with a pretty intense work and integrated learning, getting on site at the facility, buddying up with existing experienced credentialled pharmacists to perform and have lived experience with things like MAC meetings, handovers and staff education,” Mr Bonner said.

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Tags: embedded pharmacist, michael bonner, onsite pharmacist, pharmacy care academy,

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