On Monday NPS MedicineWise, with the help of ambassadors Bert Newton and Dr John D’Arcy, will launch Be Medicinewise Week 2013.
The week is a national public health initiative to encourage the quality use of medicines in the community and support people to make safer and more informed decisions about their medicines and health.
Now in its third year, Be Medicinewise Week 2013 will focus on Australia’s ageing population, providing older Australians with tools and information to be active partners in their health care and medicines management.
NPS MedicineWise Clinical Advisor, Dr Andrew Boyden, says health professionals play a vital role in community education and can help older patients better understand the role of medicines in their healthcare.
“Helping patients to understand why they are taking medicines; how to take those medicines safely; and what to do if they experience problems is critical to reducing adverse medicines events,” says Dr Boyden.
“In a national census of medicines use, NPS MedicineWise found that most older Australians take five or more medicines per day and the proportion of people aged 75 years or older taking multiple medicines is double that of those aged 50-64 years.
“By taking more medicines, older people have a higher risk of adverse outcomes: people who take five or more medicines everyday are almost twice as likely to report a medicines problem as those who take less.
“Medicines use in older people is a balance between managing conditions according to disease based guidelines and addressing patient goals while at the same time avoiding medicine-related problems.
“Finding this balance can be helped when patients an active role in their care. Encouraging patients to keep a list of their medicines, discuss their long-term health goals and understand the risks and benefits of their medicines is key to safe medicines management.”
During Be Medicinewise Week, all Australians are being urged to take part in a daily medicinewise challenge. Dr Boyden says that health professionals can support their patients in the following ways: