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Medication reviews related to lower risk of death in elderly care

Medication reviews related to lower risk of death in elderly care

Medication reviews related to lower risk of death in elderly care

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New research from the Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) at SAHMRI has linked drug reviews to a lower risk of death for elderly caregivers.

The study, led by Dr. Janet Sluggett and funded by the Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy (AACP), followed 57,719 residents who lived in aged care homes across Australia for up to a year, and analyzed whether they were hospitalized, went to the emergency room (ED ), or died during that period.

“We found that people who had a medication review within a 12-month period had a 5% lower risk of death,” said Dr. Sluggett.

“There was no difference in the risk of hospitalization between residents who had a medication review and those who did not. The effect was based solely on mortality.”

Only 22% of the residents involved in this study underwent a medication review, despite the fact that everyone was qualified to access the free service.

Previous studies have shown that residents take an average of 10 medications every day, but only one in five receives a medication review from a pharmacist, who usually identifies up to four problems per person.

Another recent ROSA study funded by the AACP, focusing on the differences in medication use before and after a review, found that the use of some medications declined after a review.

“Evaluations often show which medications can be adjusted or stopped, which reduces the burden on the resident and increases the quality of care,” said Dr. Sluggett.

“There is a clear link between getting a review and a reduction in the use of some medications, such as those to reduce reflux, which are often taken longer than necessary.”

Getting a medication review involves several steps. The lack of an automatic referral system means that a doctor’s referral is necessary. A pharmacist must then visit the resident to make recommendations, before the doctor and nursing staff make changes.

“The goal should be to streamline this process to make it more accessible to everyone involved,” said Dr. Sluggett.

Dr. Sluggett says that the lack of awareness among GPs and elderly care providers about the usefulness of medication reviews for residents is another barrier that must be addressed.

“A key component of this is to build strong relationships between pharmacists, GPs and suppliers, together with residents and their families, so that all parties are on the same page, resulting in the highest possible level of care,” said Dr. Sluggett.

“We hope this will be facilitated by the government’s recent announcement of $ 345.7 million in new funding for pharmacists to work on site in nursing homes from January 2023.”

Published in Age and agingThe study was completed in response to the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety, which requested an evaluation of the medication review system.

AACP chief Grant Martin says the association felt it was crucial to support the ROSA studies to continue Australia’s upgrades of the elderly care system.

“The new evidence generated from this project enables accredited pharmacists to speak positively about the benefits of medication reviews in discussions with elderly care residents and their physicians,” said Martin.

The research team encourages doctors to be more diligent in referring to medication reviews and encourage elderly care residents to be proactive in asking their GP for a review.


Medications for elderly care become uncontrolled


More information:
Janet K Sluggett et al, Providing a comprehensive drug review is associated with lower mortality risk for residents of geriatric care facilities: a retrospective cohort study, Age and aging (2022). DOI: 10.1093 / ageing / afac149

Provided by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)

Citation: Medication reviews related to lower risk of death in elderly care (2022, 7 July) taken 7 July 2022 from

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