Eleven experienced and well qualified pharmacists have now been appointed by the Commission. They travelled to Canberra at the beginning of December 2019 to participate in training prior to beginning work with the Commission’s Pharmacy Outreach Project.
The training began with a Welcome to Country and Ngunawal yarns, during which Aunty Jannette Phillips shared many aspects of her family’s life and culture.
Dr Melanie Wroth led the pharmacists through the Design your Care activity to emphasise to us all the importance of ‘identity, culture and diversity’, which was followed by a brief overview of the development and functions of the Commission.
Commissioner Ms Janet Anderson PSM then formally welcomed the pharmacists, before speaking of the importance of the work, and the potential they each have to make a real difference to consumers in the services they visit.
Assoc/Professor Noleen Bennett, Senior Infection Control Consultant at the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship, travelled from Melbourne to meet with the group. She spoke about the value of the Aged Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey and generated strong interest among the pharmacists in encouraging and supporting the services they visit to participate in the survey.
Dr Wroth then spoke about Restraint and behaviour, illustrating the Quality of Care Amendment (Minimising the Use of Restraints) Principles 2019 with instances from her work and experience. She also explained the scope and aims of the project.
Dr Lisa Kouladjian O’Donnell from the University of Sydney spoke about the Goal-directed Medication review Electronic Decision Support System, a new clinical decision-making support tool for health practitioners and pharmacists reviewing medications for older patients. The pharmacists were given an opportunity to register pending its release shortly.
Ms Marie Alford of Dementia Support Australia (DSA) provided a wealth of information in her presentation on supporting non-pharmacological responses when behaviour impacts on care. She explained the assistance available through DSA for advice, consultation and site visits throughout the whole of the country.
Ms Sue Edwards drew on her wide experience as a pharmacist educator and provided a practical session entitled A Framework for Successful Professional Communication. She helped identify why educational messages are not always translated into changes in behaviour.
The bulk of the training was presented by Dr Juanita Breen, on the successful Reducing Use of Sedatives (RedUSe) project. RedUSe is a national government funded program to promote quality and appropriate use of sedatives, in particular antipsychotics and benzodiazepines, in residential aged care services in Australia, and to assist with reducing use of these medications whenever possible. The pharmacists have now been trained to deliver this programme and will contact services in remote and very remote locations to offer RedUSe training to nominated Champion nurses and Champion pharmacists. They will offer to explain the programme to community pharmacists and other pharmacists who visit the services and GPs and to assist and support them in any way they can.
The pharmacists all reported that they valued the opportunity to expand their knowledge and network among their peers. They are currently being matched with residential aged care services who have requested to participate and are looking forward to making contact in the near future.
We are hoping to begin visiting in January 2020.