Medication reviews needed

Medication reviews needed.

Photo: Medication reviews needed.

Many older people at high risk of medicine-related problems are not receiving medication reviews when referred to aged community care services, new research has found.

Published in the journal Drugs and Ageing, the study found most people referred to Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT), who assess the care needs of elderly people, did not receive a comprehensive medication review.

As a result medicine-related problems are not detected highlighting the need for increased pharmacist involvement in ACATs.

Principal investigator, Rohan Elliott, from Monash University's Centre for Medicine Use and Safety (CMUS) and senior pharmacist at Austin Health, said pharmacist-led reviews of medications, linked with ACAT assessments, resolved medicine-related problems and could reduce hospital admissions.

“Although the federal government funds Home Medicines Reviews (HMRs) through Medicare, these must be initiated by the patient’s general practitioner and less than 10% of eligible older people receive this service. ACATs cannot initiate HMRs,” Mr Elliott said.

“Addition of pharmacists to ACATs could provide a reliable and cost-effective method for delivering medication reviews and reduce the risk of adverse medication events in one of the highest-risk sections of the Australian population,” he added.

Head of Aged Care at Austin Health and co-investigator of the study, Associate Professor Michael Woodward, said pharmacist-led medication reviews could improve appropriateness of prescribing, medication adherence and clinical outcomes, and identify and resolve adverse drug reactions, medication errors and inappropriate use or storage of medicines in peoples’ homes.