Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Improving community access to terminal phase medicines in Australia: identification of the key considerations for the implementation of a ‘core medicines list’

Paul A. Tait A B D , Weng Hou Cheung C , Michael Wiese C and Kirsten Staff C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Southern Adelaide Palliative Services, Repatriation General Hospital, 700 Goodwood Road, Daw Park, SA 5041, Australia.

B Discipline of Palliative and Supportive Services, Flinders University, SA 5042, Australia.

C School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, SA 5000, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: paul.tait@sa.gov.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 23(4) 373-378 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY16153
Submitted: 24 November 2016  Accepted: 12 February 2017   Published: 11 May 2017

Abstract

During the terminal phase, access to medicines is critical for people wishing to spend their last days of life at home. Yet, access to medicines can be problematic. The aim of this study was to report the perspectives of specialist and generalist health professionals (HPs) on the issues of community access to medicines for this vulnerable group. A qualitative descriptive study design investigated the views of HPs working in palliative care roles in South Australia. Nurses, doctors and pharmacists described their experiences of accessing medicines for management of terminal phase symptoms during semi-structured focus group discussions. Content analysis identified six themes including: ‘Medication Supply’, ‘Education and Training’, ‘Caregiver Burden’, ‘Safety’, ‘Funding’ and ‘Clinical Governance’. Future projects should aim to address these themes when developing strategies for the management of people wishing to die at home.


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