13 June 2023

Meet the hospital pharmacist dispensing strong advocacy for aged-care residents

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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woman in healthcare uniform

Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s aged-care lead pharmacist Sarah Thomas works at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital. Photo: MLHD.

Pharmacist Sarah Thomas is passionate about advocating for the elderly and improving their wellbeing.

Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s aged-care lead pharmacist, based at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital, has extensive experience in her field, having worked across various community and hospital settings.

“Our older people are at a very vulnerable stage of their life, so delivering safe, effective and timely geriatric medicine pharmacy services is imperative to their overall health management outcomes,” Sarah said.

As the lead pharmacist, Sarah oversees and supports aged-care residents and helps the facilities where they live to maintain medication management accreditation standards and support evidence-based medication management.

Her role also involves managing the residents to transition safely through the healthcare system, which includes residential, acute, primary and community care with their medication management.

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Sarah has a master’s degree in clinical pharmacy, specialising in geriatric pharmacy practice and geriatric disease management, palliative care, infectious diseases and management of future pharmacy practice.

In the past six years, while pursuing her master’s, Sarah has worked across numerous clinical wards at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital.

MLHD said that with her specialised knowledge and skill set, Sarah helped ensure patients’ medications were appropriate, leading to the delivery of high-level healthcare in the future.

She is also involved in quality improvement initiatives, in consultation with GPs and geriatricians.

The initiatives are focused on implementing medication reviews for residents at aged-care facilities, reducing multiple medications as well as lowering the fall risk in older patients.

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The medication reviews focus on deprescribing opiates, benzodiazepines and anti-psychotics.

While managing various roles, Sarah also dedicates her time to MLHD’s staff advisory committee, helping to develop a detailed business proposal for extending the existing pharmacy services for Wagga Wagga to align with the strategic vision of the health district.

“I am excited to be bringing my study and experience to help deliver better patient outcomes for the people throughout the district,” Sarah said.

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