Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist Nov 2013 Contents Australian Pharmacist November 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd. 53
Continuing Professional Development
on and consolidate the importance of
health awareness and to obtain a better
understanding of various illnesses.
This is also a vital opportunity for the
community to identify individual health
priorities as well as sharing/learning
through yarning* which contributes to
Local and national days or weeks are
promoted in the community and at
the centre. For example, National
Stroke Week, Daffodil Day and Hearing
Awareness Week events were run in
2012. Resources are provided to people
who attend and a health professional
or lay speaker is invited to talk. During
Hearing Awareness Week, an audiologist
visited the centre and local people were
invited to bring their children in for a
However, as one of the staff members at
Moorditj Koort said, 'Health promotion
is something we do all the time -- it is
It should also be something that
pharmacy is doing!
Pharmacists can contact local elders in
the community and liaise with them to
identify areas of concern and interest
among local Aboriginal people. They can
also ensure that any talks given, or events
promoted, are culturally appropriate.
At Moorditj Koort, the pharmacist has
presented general medication talks
to the Aboriginal community as well
as continuing education sessions to
Aboriginal health workers. A talk to
Aboriginal school children about hygiene
and reducing the transmission of bacteria
and viruses is about to be presented.
Barriers and solutions in
Some of the specific barriers that exist
between Aboriginal patients and
pharmacies include adherence, poor use
of the Closing the Gap (CTG) scheme, lack
of transport, lack of cultural awareness,
financial issues and poor communication.
The difficulty of ensuring continued
adherence with prescribed medications
is a significant barrier to any person
with chronic illness and multiple
medications. Countless articles have
been penned outlining causes and
suggested solutions to this problem and
these issues are clearly present in the
As pharmacists know only too well, poor
compliance with prescribed medications
is an indicator for poor health: a
medicine can't work properly if it is not
Home Medicines Reviews (HMRs) are
valuable for most patients on multiple
medications, but gaining access into
an Aboriginal home may be difficult.
Moorditj Koort has overcome some of
this barrier by offering a medication
review service at the centre where a
review is conducted by a pharmacist who
is regularly at the centre and so known
by many of the community members.
Whilst offering the service at Moorditj
Koort is not ideal, this method of delivery
has increased acceptance of both the
service and the pharmacist conducting it.
It is now becoming more commonplace
to conduct an HMR in the home.
Whilst not ideal, the HMR service could
be offered at the pharmacy in a private
consulting area. Alternatively, contact
local Aboriginal organisations and enlist
Closing the Gap scheme
The cost of medications may not be
an issue for many Aboriginal people
due to the CTG scheme (see www.
medicareaustralia.gov.au for more
information). However, some people may
not have been offered this service by their
doctor and asking them -- or reminding
the GP -- may be helpful. Always check a
script for this notation.
For a patient registered with the CTG
scheme who receives a prescription for a
private item or something which is only
available over the counter, e.g. calcium or
vitamin D, always discuss the cost before
supplying the medication. This can save
embarrassment if a person cannot afford
One of the clients of Moorditj Koort,
who participates in the CCP service,
was recently prescribed vitamin D.
This person collects a weekly blister
pack. The pharmacy placed the vitamin
D directly into the pack and asked for
payment on collection. Unfortunately
this led to embarrassment, as this
person was unable to pay and therefore
couldn't collect the pack -- so missing
out on medications for several days.
The pharmacy was out-of-pocket due to
already having opened the container and
packed the vitamin D. A simple question
asked beforehand would have avoided
embarrassment for the customer (and
subsequent non-adherence) as well as an
out-of-pocket expense for the pharmacy.
In Kwinana there are six pharmacies
within a 4 kilometre radius but access to
them is not always easy. People may not
be able to walk to the closest one and
may need to rely on public transport or
ask a friend/family member for a lift.
Moorditj Koort has a transport system
in place to ensure that Aboriginal
clients attend health appointments.
However, ensuring weekly collection
of blister packs from the pharmacy can
still be a problem. Offering free delivery
(if economically viable) can be of great
benefit to clients.
Australia is a diverse cultural society
and people have a vast array of different
needs and expectations around service
and health delivery.
Anglo-Australian culture teaches
that maintaining good eye contact is
respectful and shows interest in the
discussion. However, in Aboriginal culture
(and some others), continued eye contact
makes people feel very uncomfortable.
contact local elders
in the community
and liaise with them
to identify areas of
concern and interest.'
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