Medicines: a new era of opportunity to THRIVE.

Medications can improve health when they are used appropriately. The Australian Government invests over $12 billion annually to fund access to medicines with proven efficacy. Inappropriate use of medications is associated with poor health outcomes and high health-care expenditure. People taking five or more medications have an 80% chance of an adverse drug reaction. In Australia, up to 30% of all hospital admissions in people aged 65 years and over are medication-related with an estimated annual cost of $1.2 billion.

Medication management services such as Home Medicines Reviews were introduced to improve the appropriateness of medication use in older Australians. However, these services currently function in a constrained policy and financial environment. In addition, they do not align with the new Aged Care Standards.

In the community, government funded access to specialist clinical pharmacist services (Home Medicines Review) requires a general practitioner referral and is restricted to one visit per person every 2 years. This model of care is reactive and static. Home Medicines Reviews are often initiated after medication misadventure has occurred. It does not allow for regular reporting to the health care team or long-term follow-up of patient outcomes. Consequently, the medication needs of older people living independently at home are not always met with current arrangements.

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Dr Natalie Soulby, Clinical Director, WardMM