Online course helps pharmacies be dementia-friendly
A new online course aims to increase dementia knowledge among community pharmacists as the health professionals most commonly visited by people living with dementia and their family carers.
The Dementia Training Australia (DTA) course explores the important, and sometimes overlooked, role of community pharmacies as a source of information and social support, particularly for family carers.
DTA Director and course developer Andrew Stafford said pharmacies are the most frequented health care destination, with Australians estimated to visit their community pharmacy on average 14 times every year.
“Due to the increased burden of medical conditions and medications experienced by people living with dementia, they and their carers visit community pharmacies more frequently than
average,” Dr Stafford said.
“The implication of this is that community pharmacists are likely to be the healthcare professional they encounter most commonly.
“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 per cent of people living with dementia now living in the community, pharmacies 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.”
The Dementia Friendly Pharmacy online course, available free via the DTA website, explores steps to becoming a dementia friendly pharmacy, including training for staff and assessment of the physical environment.
The course also explores medications commonly prescribed for dementia, including risks, side effects and how they may interact with other prescribed medications.
DTA is working in partnership with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) to upskill Australian pharmacists in dementia care.
The online course builds on a collaboration between DTA and PSA which saw the delivery of face-to-face workshops for pharmacists across the country.
PGA has developed two online training modules to improve understanding of dementia care among pharmacists and pharmacy assistants, complementing DTA’s more advanced course. The training modules and the DTA course can be accessed via PGA’s online learning platform GuildEd.
DTA is funded by the Federal Government to provide dementia education and training across Australia. To find out more, visit dta.com.au.