Safer use of medicines in aged care project awarded $1.5m

he PHARMA-Care project will build a national framework to regularly evaluate quality use of medicines and pharmacist activities across aged care homes.

A four-year collaborative project led by UniSA will build and test a system to provide an ongoing snapshot of medicines use and safety in aged care homes in a bid to reduce unintended harm.

The Pharmacists Actioning Rational use of Medicines in Aged Care (PHARMA-Care) quality monitoring project involves six academic and research institutions, aged care provider Eldercare, industry software vendors Medi-Map and Ward Medication Management, professional societies, clinicians and consumers.

It follows the aged care royal commission recommending a greater use of pharmacists in aged care homes to improve medicines use, and the subsequent four-year $350 million national onsite pharmacist program due to commence this year but now in question.

With $1.5 million from the Medical Research Future Fund, the PHARMA-Care project will build a national framework to regularly evaluate quality use of medicines and pharmacist activities across aged care homes, said project lead UniSA Enterprise Fellow and pharmacist Dr Janet Sluggett.

Dr Janet Sluggett

“The project will help pharmacists and aged care providers to understand where they sit with regards to medication management in their aged care homes and promote discussions about quality improvement strategies,” Dr Sluggett told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“Ultimately, this will lead to benefits for resident care and also help us to understand the early impact of the new onsite pharmacist program, to inform policy decisions about ongoing funding,” she said.

“Importantly, the PHARMA-Care project will incorporate quality measures that leverage routinely collected data, to minimise burden on pharmacists and aged care providers.”

Project involves Eldercare’s 12 sites

Eldercare operational services executive Anne-Marie Gillard said the South Australian residential aged care and retirement living provider was excited to be a partner in the PHARMA-Care project.

“It aligns strongly with our model of care focusing on evidence-based practice, optimising resident safety and promoting quality outcomes,” Ms Gillard told AAA.

Anne-Marie Gillard

As part of the collaboration, Eldercare will work with the PHARMA-care project team across its 12 aged care homes to explore stakeholder needs and preferences for quality use of medicines and pharmacist services.

“Interviews with Eldercare residents and families, GPs, and pharmacists will build an industry knowledge base and inform a national system that supports quality use of medicines in aged care homes,” Ms Gillard said.

The other institutions partnering and collaborating on the project are the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Flinders University, University of Tasmania, Macquarie University, Curtin University and Registry of Senior Australians.

“Proactive action based on these project insights will help to reduce unintended harm from medicines and ultimately support resident health and wellbeing,” Dr Sluggett said.

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Tags: anne-marie-gillard, Dr Janet Sluggett, eldercare, unisa,

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