The Morrison Government will improve medication management and safety for aged care residents by investing $345.7 million for on-site pharmacists and community pharmacy services in government-funded residential aged care facilities (RACFs).
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, announced the funding at the annual Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference, currently underway on the Gold Coast.
“Improving medication management for senior Australians living in aged care is part of the Government’s generational reform of the sector,” Minister Hunt said.
“Having a pharmacist and community pharmacy services on-site will give residents and their families confidence that medications are regularly reviewed, appropriate and needed.
“The pharmacist will also gain an in-depth understanding of medication issues across the facility and will be well-placed to improve medical management and safety.
“This is especially important when we consider the overuse of antipsychotics, known as chemical restraint, and we will continue to work closely with the aged care sector, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia in implementing these important reforms.”
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety identified medication management as an essential area for improvement.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said the measure would have far-reaching benefits for facilities and their residents.
“In addition to day-to-day review of medicines, pharmacists will build relationships with residents and their health care team – whether it be clinical staff at the facility, the patient’s GP or the local community pharmacist,” Minister Colbeck said.
“The on-site pharmacist will be easily accessible and available to aged care staff and residents, building collaboration and a vital understanding of individual needs.”
Under the measure, every government funded residential aged care facility will be able to employ or engage an on-site pharmacist or community pharmacy services.
The program will commence from 1 January 2023 with the implementation details to be finalised with the Pharmacy Guild, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the aged care sector.
Today’s announcement will complement ongoing improvements in the digital capabilities of RACFs to support medication management services and ensure safe use of medications.