Budget must fund pharmacists for aged care to end avoidable deaths

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

Now is the time for action on medicine management in aged care. PSA urges the government to fund pharmacists for aged care facilities in the upcoming 2021-22 Federal Budget.

Older Australians in residential aged care facilities continue to face significant threats to their health due to harm arising from misuse or mismanagement of their medications.

PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, said older Australians are paying the price with either their life or their quality of life.

“Twenty per cent of unplanned hospital admissions for aged care residents are a result of inappropriate medicine use. This is a game of Russian roulette, and unfortunately our older Australians are paying the price.”

“There is no denying that the current system is failing, and pharmacists are part of the solution. The government must act now, before it is too late for some of our aged care residents.”

“By embedding pharmacists is these facilities, we can safeguard residents from the harms medicines are causing and maximise their effectiveness in improving quality of life.”

“PSA’s Medicine Safety: Take Care report identified 98% of people living in aged care facilities have at least one medicine-related problem. This can no longer be tolerated”, A/Prof Freeman said.

Australia’s current service arrangements and limited available funding is grossly inadequate for pharmacists to deliver on the range of medicine and medication management services that could benefit the aged care sector, improve quality and safety, and minimise harm to residents.

PSA looks forward to learning of the outcomes of the upcoming budget and calls on the Government to recognise that that medicine-related harm in aged care is largely avoidable, by embedding pharmacists in residential aged care.

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