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Pharmacists boost dementia knowledge through online course

A new online course is helping pharmacists improve their dementia knowledge to the benefit of their local communities.

The free course explores the important role of community pharmacists [Source: Shutterstock]
The free course explores the important role of community pharmacists [Source: Shutterstock]

The free course, Dementia Friendly Pharmacy, run by Dementia Training Australia (DTA) explores the important role of community pharmacists as a source of information and support for people with dementia, their families and carers.

DTA Director and course developer Andrew Stafford says due to the increased burden of medical conditions and medications experienced by people living with dementia, they and their carers visit community pharmacies on average 14 times a year.

“Pharmacists are considered to be a good source of advice for carers of people living with dementia and can ease some of the stress associated with the carer role.

“With 70 percent of people living with dementia now living in the community, pharmacists are in a position to really make a difference to the level of support available.

“This ranges from ensuring that the pharmacy environment is responsive to the needs of people with dementia, through to providing a comprehensive suite of medication management services.”

Chief Executive Officer of Dementia Australia Maree McCabe says the consequences of lack of support for people living with dementia in the community are significant, which is why community pharmacists play a vital role.

“Community pharmacists provide an integral service to our community and are ideally positioned to alleviate many of the issues encountered by people living with dementia.

“A partnership between the person living with dementia, family carers, their treating doctor, pharmacist and other health and aged care professionals is crucial to a good health plan, as well as providing alternatives to the use of antipsychotic and other sedative medications.”

Ms McCabe sees the free course as an opportunity to be included in regular pharmaceutical staff training to ensure they deliver exceptional service for their ageing community members.

“The course explores the ways in which community pharmacies can improve their ability to meet the needs of family carers of people living with dementia, and explains the principles of a dementia friendly pharmacy.

“It also looks at appropriate use of medications frequently used for people living with dementia and which medications should be used with caution.

“We encourage all pharmacists to take the course and ensure they are providing the best quality service for their community members living with dementia,” Ms McCabe says.

Dementia Friendly Pharmacy is funded by the Federal Government and is available at the DTA website.

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