Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist February 2014 Contents Australian Pharmacist February 2014 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd. 29
reversible causes of dementia. Further
tests confirmed her diagnosis of dementia
which followed by a steep decline in her
cognitive function. She also suffered from
depression associated with her condition
and started to lose insight. She became
agitated for no apparent reason and her
condition continued to worsen over the
next two years before being transferred
to a high care dementia unit which finally
became available in a nearby town.
Her death followed soon after her transfer
to the dementia unit in remote Victoria.
Catherine's case has shown that early
assessments are key issues to diagnosing
dementia, as they show trends in cognitive
decline. Furthermore, exposing the patient
to an environment with little support
for both the carer and the patient leads
to a rapid decline in cognitive function.
An informed and supported family
member or a caregiver may be the best
way to help slow progression of dementia.
Managing people with
Goals for caring for people with
• Building a relationship of trust and
empathy with the both the patient and
• Providing a flexible and predictable
routine and a stable environment
• Ensuring a safe place for all people
involved in caring for the patient
with dementia including health
professionals and carers.
• Ensuring an efficient collaborative
relationship with all the relevant
service providers, caring for the
• Supporting and promoting self care
activities for families and carers of the
person with dementia.
1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Dementia in
Australia. Cat. no. AGE 70. Canberra. AIHW. 2012
2. Stark C, Innes A, Szymczynska P, Forrest L, Proctor K.
Dementia knowledge transfer project in a rural area. Rural
and Remote Health 13: 2060. (Online) 2013. Available: http://
3. Support Needs of People living with Dementia in Rural
and Remote Australia: An Australian Government Initiative
Report. April 2007.
Advanced pharmacy practitioner -- to be or not to be?
This is the question we pose for
Early Career Pharmacists (ECPs).
The Queensland ECP working group
recently discussed advanced pharmacy
practice. The discussion raised more
questions than answers.
We did provide feedback to the Steering
Committee about the Advanced Pharmacy
Practice Framework. However, this was
a while ago and we probably have not
looked at the document since then.
But one of the great things that we like
about being involved in the ECP working
group is that it provides a platform for
discussion about the direction of the
profession, our experiences and opinions.
Members of the Queensland working
group currently represent three sectors:
academia/research, community and
hospital practice. This provides a platform
for healthy debate and discussion,
which was the case when we discussed
Advanced Pharmacy Practice.
'Practice that is so significantly
different from that achieved at initial
registration that it warrants recognition
by professional peers and the public
of the expertise of the practitioner and
the education, training and experience
from which that capability was derived.'
(National Competency Standards)
In other words, what it is attempting
to do is formalise the recognition of
pharmacists who are practicing at a
significantly higher level than expected.
While advancing practice is not new
(we only need to read Australian
Pharmacist each month to see that there
are pharmacists doing great things),
being 'formally recognised' is new.
And why should pharmacists not be
acknowledged as specialists? At a time
where the future of our profession is
evolving, it is wonderful that we can start
to build recognition of our expanding
practice from supplier to service provider
and specialist pharmacist.
How is being 'advanced' di erent
to being experienced?
Formal qualifications will be needed
as well as experience. It is also about
creating new knowledge or influencing
practice. But how easy will this be to do
in an area outside of research or policy
making? Many pharmacists are working
at an advanced level in spite of the
majority of them having never engaged
in research, high-level management
Why would this interest ECPs?
There are many reasons why advanced
practice may be of interest to ECPs
-- to have a career pathway, increase
personal satisfaction, to meet a
healthcare gap, to be recognised by
employers for something you already do
and are good at.
But will it lead to better remuneration,
more job opportunities and greater
recognition and understanding of
pharmacists' role/s by the public and our
What are the challenges?
It will be a long road ahead before
ECPs achieve advanced practice. Given
that ECPs are concerned about the
current pharmacy environment. It is
not surprising that some will question
whether the effort is worth it when the
rewards and outcomes are uncertain.
Also, is there a risk that advanced practice
will overshadow the important role that
pharmacists have now. Alternatively,
things need to change, and the future
of the profession really is in the hands
of ECPs -- if we do not try, will the next
generation of pharmacists try?
BY THE QUEENSLAND EARLY CAREER PHARMACIST WORKING GROUP
EARLY CAREER PHARMACIST FOCUS
Links Archive Australian Pharmacist January 2014 Australian Pharmacist March 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page