Aged Care

Bringing on-site pharmacists into aged care to improve medication safety


Starting 1 July,  residential aged care homes in Australia can access funding to employ on-site pharmacists to help reduce medicine-related harm in aged care.

The program, called the Aged Care On-site Pharmacist (ACOP) Measure, is part of the government’s plan to make aged care better and safer.  Under ACOP, eligible residential aged care homes can either work with a local pharmacy to get pharmacists or hire one directly.

Why is this important? Having a pharmacist can help in many ways:

  1. improve understanding and supervision of residents’ medication needs
  2. improve safety and support the appropriate use of high-risk medications
  3. enable the day-to-day review of medications and prompt issue resolution
  4. provide easy access to pharmacist advice for staff and residents
  5. improve coordination with local general practitioners, nurses, and community pharmacy.

The change comes in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which looked at how to improve aged care in Australia. The study found that having more health professionals, like pharmacists, in nursing homes could help reduce problems with medicines.

“It’s an opportunity for [aged care] facilities to review the role of the pharmacy as a service provider.,” says a spokesperson from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. “Not just providing the medications and dose administration aids, but also things like quality use of medicines within the facility and being the lead in that area.”

The government hopes this program will lead to better healthcare for older Australians by connecting different parts of the health system.

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