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National residential medication chart released

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A new national medication chart that can be used to prescribe and supply PBS medicines is now available free from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care at http://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/our-work/medication-safety/medication….

Doctors and pharmacists in the ACT, Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia can now prescribe and supply most PBS medicines to residents of aged care facilities using this chart without needing to also write prescriptions. (Legislation is yet to be passed in NSW and the Northern Territory to allow the NRMC to be used for medicine prescribing and supply purposes.)

The National Residential Medication Chart (NRMC) has also been designed to provide a central point for information. ‘Prescriptions’ and the record of medicine administration are co-located, with the resident’s details including their photograph and known adverse drug reactions visible from each page. Relevant pathology, doctors’ instructions and special considerations are also included.

The NRMC was developed, tested and evaluated in 2013-14 by the Commission in over twenty residential aged care facilities in NSW (specially exempted from current NSW legislative restrictions). AMA members, Dr Brian Morton and Dr Richard Kidd, participated in the expert reference group providing advice.

The Commission found that the NRMC improved medication safety for residents as well as considerably minimising the administrative burden of prescribers, aged care staff, and pharmacists when ordering, administering and supplying PBS medicines.

While NRMC test sites provided very positive feedback and have chosen to continue using it, their experiences indicate that everyone involved initially needs training and support to move successfully to an NRMC model.

The next step is for commercial companies to develop electronic versions of the NRMC to streamline processes even further.

Use of the NRMC is a decision of the residential aged care facilities and is purely voluntary but AMA members may wish to encourage the facilities they work in to investigate its adoption.