National Carers Week now on

National Carers Week is an opportunity to acknowledge the profoundly positive impact that unpaid carers have on those around them.

Every day Australia’s 2.7 million unpaid carers give their time and energy to support the needs of others and significantly strengthen the social fabric of Australia’s communities.

Webstercare Managing Director Gerard Stevens says pharmacists are uniquely qualified to appreciate and support the significant contribution of carers.

“Pharmacists are the most publicly accessible healthcare professionals and often have strong relationships with carers. Carers know very well that their local pharmacy is a valuable source of general support and advice, over and above our primary role as medication managers and advisers,” he said.

“Often those being cared for take multiple medications, so it’s vital that the carer knows and understands each medication – prescription or over the counter, what it does, when it should be taken and what potential reactions to keep an eye out for.”

He adds that pharmacists often help carers to navigate the healthcare system, which can be quite complex for non-healthcare professionals to understand their options.

According to Carers Australia, the unpaid work of carers is valued at $60.3bn annually (or more than $1bn weekly).

Tools available to support carers

With an increasing emphasis on community care packages aimed at keeping people in their homes for longer, Mr Stevens said that tools supporting improved medication understanding and adherence would see significantly increased demand.

“Webstercare offers a range of tools that have been designed to meet specific needs often encountered by our patients that carers will find useful,” he said.

He adds that dose administration aids such as a Webster-paks are the backbone of pharmacy’s clinical support to carers, which include a computer-generated PocketProfile medicines list to put in wallets or purses, Webster-pak LVs for people with poor sight, and Pil-Bob  for patients with dexterity problems.

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