Pharmacists play a crucial role in the healthcare ecosystem, and their expertise is often sought to enhance patient care. In an exciting development, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has received the green light for a groundbreaking training program that promises to improve palliative care for patients across the nation.
Empowering Pharmacists for Palliative Care
The Palliative Care Pharmacist Foundation Training program, initiated by PSA, has been selected as one of the successful recipients of the Australian Government's National Palliative Care Projects grants program. This program aims to upskill pharmacists and equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to provide comprehensive palliative care support.
A Holistic Approach to Palliative Care
One of the key aspects of this initiative is the co-design approach. PSA will collaborate with subject matter experts, partner organisations, and consumers to create a training program that truly meets the needs of patients and healthcare professionals alike.
Specialist Palliative Care Pharmacists
As part of this endeavour, PSA plans to pilot a community palliative care pharmacist service model. This model will feature specialist palliative care pharmacists who have undergone the training. These specialised pharmacists will play a pivotal role in ensuring that palliative care reaches those who need it most.
PSA's Commitment to Palliative Care
Dr. Fei Sim FPS, the National President of PSA, highlighted the organisation's dedication to palliative care. She emphasised that PSA has been actively involved in palliative care education and multiple projects leading up to this significant announcement. Some of these projects include initiatives like the Palliative Care Access to Core Medicines (PCAM) in South Australia.
Pharmacists as Frontline Care Providers
Pharmacists are often the most accessible healthcare professionals in communities. They already conduct medication reviews in homes and residential care settings, offering critical care to patients on multiple medications. With the additional knowledge and skills gained through the training program, pharmacists will be better equipped to provide support to patients, their families, and even offer bereavement care.
Government Support for Palliative Care
This innovative training program and the pilot of the community palliative care pharmacist service model have received funding from the Federal Government as part of a $68 million palliative care grants package. This investment demonstrates the government's commitment to improving palliative care services in Australia.
Addressing Access Barriers
Dr. Sim also highlighted that the training program will benefit diverse patient groups, including those facing barriers due to gender, cultural, or disability reasons. By upskilling local pharmacists, this initiative will enhance the capacity of community palliative care teams, community pharmacists, and general practitioners to provide comprehensive care to palliative care patients.
A Collaborative Approach to Palliative Care
The service model pilot will not only benefit patients but also contribute to improved collaboration and coordination among local palliative care services. This, in turn, is expected to reduce unnecessary hospital presentations, ensuring that patients receive the right care in the right place.
While the specific launch date of the training program is set for 2024, more details on enrolment will be communicated in due course. This initiative is a significant step toward improving palliative care in Australia, and it underscores the vital role that pharmacists play in healthcare.
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