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Forging stronger partnerships with clinical pharmacists

To mark World Pharmacist Day, pharmacy company Ward MM is calling on aged care providers to improve the quality of life for their residents by working with clinical pharmacists.

Ward MM chief executive Fiona Rhody-Nicholl said people are ageing now in a way that they never were before – they are getting and staying older but doing so with chronic conditions. This means they are taking more medications.

“Sixty-six per cent of people over 75 are taking more than five medications a day. This is what we call poly-pharmacy,” Rhody-Nicholl said. “And there’s an 80 per cent likelihood of an adverse drug reaction, so the role of the pharmacist is to make sure people are taking the right medications.”

Rhody-Nicholl said every aged care home has a clinical pharmacist to review medications, and added a highly skilled clinical pharmacist specialising in geriatric medicine will take on the role of the ‘guardian of medications’ in that home.

These guardians of medications work with a mission of eliminating medication-related harm, as medication-related hospital admissions cost the Australian health system $1.2 billion a year.

She believes a strong relationship can be forged between staff and clinical pharmacists to provide flexible training.

“Pharmacists have insight across the home and can help not just on the home front but at an organisational angle to identity data to improve health outcomes,” she said.

Another bonus is that clinical pharmacists can collaborate with aged care partners to identify new services such as bespoke training programs and personalised medication planning services.

“They can collaborate on practical solutions, not just medicine but current challenges and solutions in the home,” she said.

We speak to Rhody-Nicholl to see what role medicine plays in aged facilities.

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