Difficulties accessing medications which carers need to look after someone dying at home can mean that the person needs to be sent in by ambulance to hospital to die. Having been on the hospital end of this transaction many times, I know how sad it is for the patient and family when something as simple as access to medicines gets in the way of care at home.
A study carried out by Paul Tait and a team from South Australia has shown that the proportion of community pharmacies stocking a list of medications needed for end of life care at home has nearly tripled from 2012 to 2015.
Significantly more SA community pharmacies carried all five core medicines following the delivery of a range of multidisciplinary education strategies.
This indicates that the likelihood of South Australians being able to access items from the List through community pharmacies in 2015 has significantly improved.
They concluded that “These results suggest that there is value in developing and promoting a standardised list of medicines, ensuring that community palliative patients have timely access to medicines in the terminal phase.”
Tait P, et al. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care 2017;0:1–8. doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2016-001191