Pharmacist house calls mandatory for home med reviews

All home medicine reviews must take place in the home of the person at risk of medication errors, except in tightly defined circumstances, under changes to the Home Medicines Review program from 15 March.

After consultation with the Pharmacy Guild, the Government will now require an accredited pharmacist to visit the patients’ homes and have access to all medicines they are using. This includes prescription medicines, over the counter and complementary medicines. 

The Commonwealth has moved to strengthen and tighten up the program in place to help people living at home in the community who are at risk of taking the wrong medication.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said that from 15 March, under the Home Medicines Review program, an accredited pharmacist will now have to visit the patient where they live in order to conduct the review. 

“In the future, medication reviews under the program will only be conducted outside the home of clients where there is pre-approval for defined circumstances – such as patient or pharmacist safety, or for cultural reasons,” said Minister Plibersek. 

To ensure the best result for consumers, the Government will also require that reviews, including interviews and written reports for general practitioners, may only be conducted by accredited pharmacists. 

According to a statement, the tightening of the program has been necessary “after it emerged that some checks were not taking place in patients’ homes.”

“The evidence is clear that the very best way for us to help patients who might be at risk of accidently taking the wrong medicine is for an accredited pharmacist to visit the person at their home,” said Ms Plibersek. 

“It is important for a pharmacist to see for themselves what a patient is taking as those at risk of not using medication correctly could be elderly, infirm or perhaps may have poor English literacy.”

 Ms Plibersek said it was unacceptable that under the program some 1,500 medicine checks each month were taking place outside the home. 

After consultation with the Pharmacy Guild, the Government will now require an accredited pharmacist to visit the patients’ homes and have access to all medicines they are using. This includes prescription medicines, over the counter and complementary medicines. 

Ms Plibersek said that patients would benefit from the strengthened program. 

“The popularity of these checks shows that patients appreciate the benefits of improved medication management so it is important we get it right.” 

Outside the home, there are other medication management programs by which pharmacists can reduce the risk of medication misadventure, such as MedsCheck and Clinical Interventions

There are also a number of other minor changes to improve accountability under the program. A complete list of all the changes to come into effect from 15 March 2013 can be found at the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement website.   

Tags: accredited-pharmacists, fifth-community-pharmacy-agreement, home-medicines-review, pharmacy-guild-of-australia, tanya-plibersek,

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