Research winners for PSA18

Researchers examining polypharmacy within aged populations have won the best paper and best poster categories at PSA18.

Lauren Corre and a team of University of South Australia researchers were awarded the PSA18 Best Poster Prize for their project,

Mapping medication burden, prescribing and dispensing patterns within community dwelling elderly clients of community pharmacies.

Lauren Corre, Elizabeth Hotham and Vijayaprakash Suppiah from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences recruited participants from three metropolitan community pharmacies in Adelaide in 2017. They interviewed community-dwelling older Australians and reviewed 223 dispensing histories of those 65 years and over, aiming to quantify the current patterns of medication load and the presence of polypharmacy, as well as prescribing and dispensing patterns and how each client’s care team coordinated services.

They found the average number of medicines taken by each participant was 8.27, with 86% of participants taking five or more regular medicines.

‘Themes including lack of collaboration between healthcare professionals, the need for increased communication between prescribers and a requirement for increased education about medicines for patients were highlighted,’ the researchers concluded.

The Best Paper was presented by Dr Janet Sluggett from Monash University on behalf of her team who investigated the application of a structured process to simplify medication administration in residential aged care facilities (RACFs).

The paper, Working collaboratively to reduce medication complexity: the simplification of medications prescribed to long term care residents (SIMPLER) study, discussed a 36-month ongoing randomised control trial of medication administration within a South Australian multidisciplinary healthcare team.

Researchers recruited 242 participants from 8 RACFs, of which 96 residents received the intervention. Opportunities for medication regimen simplification were identified for 62 (65%) residents. The researchers concluded that opportunities exist for pharmacists to work in partnership with aged care providers to reduce medication regimen complexity in RACFs.

Dr Sluggett’s team consisted of Esa YH Chenab, Jenni llomäkia, Megan Corlisb, Sarah N Hilmerb, Jan Van Emden, Choon Ean Ooia, Kim-Huong Nguyen, Tracy Comansb, Michelle Hoganbid, Tessa Caporaled, Susan Edwards, Lyntara Quirke, Allan Patchingi and J Simon Bella.

The judges were very impressed with the quality and variety of the posters and papers submitted.