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Chronic Pain MedsCheck Trial uptake on the increase

More than 1,600 community pharmacies across Australia are now taking part in the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Chronic Pain MedsCheck Trial.

Under the trial, community pharmacies assist patients who are taking medication to deal with chronic pain that has been on-going for three months or longer. Through a Chronic Pain MedsCheck, a pharmacist evaluates and reviews a patient’s medicine and the pain management program that is being undertaken, ensuring it is supporting their clinical need.

Risdon Vale Pharmacy in Tasmania is participating in the trial and proprietor Katie Hayes says it has made a great difference to patients in the region.

“Patients are finding it really beneficial and are very appreciative of being able to discuss their pain and to be able to tell their story so their situation is fully understood. This is something that has been lacking as GPs are usually under too much pressure to be able to spend the amount of time with the patient that we do with a Chronic Pain MedsCheck,” she said.

“The training for the program is excellent and one of the best I have experienced. I am using it all the time in other situations such as when a patient asks for a pain medicine over-the-counter.”

Rosalie Village Pharmacy in Brisbane is another pharmacy participating in the trial that has seen success with the trial, particularly through improved collaboration.

Pharmacist Matilda Gunn said an important aspect of the trial was highlighting to the patient the benefits of collaboration between different health professionals.

“We impress on the patients that the different health professionals work as a team to help them,” Ms Gunn said.

“Patients appreciate the questions to put in perspective where to improve, and we have good referral avenues.

“We have referrals to dietitians, physios and GPs mainly but also when necessary psychologists and perhaps a sleep clinic. Our collaboration is very broad.

“What this does is also highlight to the patient that pain management is not just about medication. There are lifestyle and other factors to be taken into account so the approach is very well rounded.”

National President of the Pharmacy Guild George Tambassis said patients would further benefit as the Chronic Pain MedsCheck Trial helped community pharmacies make a greater contribution to the management of chronic pain.

“The Chronic Pains MedsCheck is a patient-centric process that ensures the pharmacist and the chronic pain sufferer make a thorough assessment of the condition and treatment,” Mr Tambassis said.

“There is often a lack of access to appropriate advice and support on chronic pain in the community, and it can be difficult for patients to access effective treatment that is timely and affordable.

“Having this trial in community pharmacies gives patients living with chronic pain easy access to greater support.

“This is an important initiative to trial the delivery of a specialised Chronic Pain MedsCheck within community pharmacy that seeks to improve clinical outcomes for consumers and enhance the role of community pharmacists in the delivery of primary healthcare services.”

The role of community pharmacies in the trial includes:

• Supported self -management of patients taking medication who are dealing with chronic pain for more than three months through pharmacist advice
• Pharmacy-based evaluation of patients’ medicine
• Provision of an action plan which incorporates education, self-management and referral to other health professionals.

All pharmacists participating in the trial must complete CPD-accredited online training modules before conducting trial interventions.

The Chronic Pain MedsCheck Trial is funded by the Australian Government under the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement.

For more information on the Chronic Pain MedsCheck Trial, please visit 6cpa.com.au.

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