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Project focused on older Australians helps pharmacist take out top award

An investigation into medication management among older people with the goal of simplifying the process has seen a South Australian pharmacist awarded 2018 Pharmacist of the Year by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia SA/NT.

Award-winning pharmacist Janet Sluggett (Source: Supplied)

Janet Sluggett, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Medicine Use and Safety (CMUS) at Monash University, was awarded the 2018 title for her innovative practice, striving to raise practice standards, and for providing a model of practice which others strive to emulate.

For Dr Sluggett, it was through her work leading the Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre project at Helping Hand Aged Care that led to the award win.

Original funding enabled a research project involving more than 200 aged care residents, with new funding to see the project expand to older people at home.

“I am very honoured and very grateful… it is good to have the excellent work we are doing recognised in this way,” Dr Slugget explains.

“I am very passionate about contributing to the pharmacy profession and advocating for new roles in the pharmacy profession.”

Helping Hand aged Care Business Manager Research and Development Jan Van Emden praised Dr Sluggett, who is embedded with Helping Hand two days a week.

“It is fairly unusual to see academia and industry work together in this particular way, Mr Emden says.

“We have developed a model for how to work together and it shows it can work.”

Monash University’s Professor Simon Bell says Dr Sluggett’s project is generating strong interest among the aged care sector and notes the timing coincides with a Victorian Government medication trial program.

Like Helping Hand, Professor Bell has praised Dr Sluggett in her role leading an 18-person multidisciplinary team implementing a cluster randomised controlled trial across eight South Australian aged care facilities.

“As noted in her award citation, she is an outstanding ambassador for the pharmacy profession and has made significant contributions to pharmacy practice research, community engagement and professional development,” Professor Bell says.

The results of Dr Sluggett’s original study are currently being analysed, with results expected to be available within the next few months.


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