It is well recognized that the older age groups are the largest users of medications. While making a significant contribution to the treatment and prevention of disease, increasing life expectancy and improving the quality of life, medicines do have the potential to cause harm. It has been shown that inappropriate or incorrect use of medications can have a negative impact on health outcomes.
Proper medication management, or quality use of medicines, includes a consideration of the appropriateness of the medication prescribed, the correct dispensing and administration, and the provision of appropriate information. The quality use of medicines can have a positive impact on health outcomes and can contribute directly to an improvement in quality of life. Further, cost savings may result from an improved use of medicines.
There is much literature to support the view that an improvement in the use of medication by the elderly, particularly by residents of aged care facilities, is essential and cost-effective. The benefits of an improved outcome through quality use of medicines in residential aged care facilities are so significant that the cost benefit has been clearly identified. Appropriate resources need to be made available to achieve these benefits.