Deprescribing – The Key to Minimising Polypharmacy

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Residents of aged care facilities often have multiple medical conditions managed by multiple


However the more medications prescribed, the greater the risk of adverse outcomes.

Polypharmacy is associated with an increased risk of fall, hospitalization and premature mortality.

Deprescribing is the process of withdrawing an inappropriate medication, supervised by a health professional with the goal of managing polypharmacy and improving outcomes.

From 1 July 2021, facilities are required to report polypharmacy data for residents prescribed nine or more medications every quarter under the National Aged Care Quality Indicator Program.

It is therefore important that residents are prescribed only medications that remain appropriate in their care and that inappropriate polypharmacy with the associated risk of worsened outcomes, is avoided.

Staff will understand how to support prescribers with deprescribing discussions and reassure residents that deprescribing is a safe, evidence-based practice.

The benefits of referring residents at potential risk from polypharmacy for RMMR (Residential Medication Management Review) by the Meditrax Pharmacist is discussed as an integral part of the deprescribing process.

The importance of withdrawing only one medicine at a time and reducing doses gradually is emphasised, with close monitoring by staff for return of symptoms or potential withdrawal effects.

The role of deprescribing guidelines and tools is also discussed with useful resources suggested.

Medi-Learn is a comprehensive education platform for those working in aged care. Our platform offers high-quality, up-to-date content to support learning and career growth and our team of experienced clinical pharmacists work together to ensure accuracy and relevance in all our learning materials. We are dedicated to helping our users succeed and welcome feedback to continually improve our offerings.

All delegations of nursing staff in residential aged care homes.

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