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Making the difference in medication, using the expertise of hospital pharmacists to manage polypharmacy, evaluate drug appropriateness and increase drug adherence in older patients
Ageing is one of the greatest social and economic challenges of the 21st century for European societies. According to the latest population projections, by 2070, those aged 65 years and over will rise from 19% to 29%, while the share of those aged 80 and over will increase from 5% to 13% of the total population, which will be almost as large as the youngest population (aged 0–14) in that year.1
Because older people have different healthcare requirements, often developing disabilities or multimorbidity complications, health systems will need to adapt so they can provide adequate care for longer periods while remaining financially sustainable. The estimated change in the EU’s total public expenditure on the older population (the total public expenditure includes pensions, health care, long-term care, education and unemployment benefits) will increase from 25% of GDP in 2016 by 1.7 percentage points, reaching 26.7% in 2070. This will be caused mostly by spending on health care (+0.9 percentage points) and long-term care (+1.2 percentage points); the percentages refer to the baseline scenario.2
In view of such challenges, it is of the utmost importance that hospital pharmacists’ expertise in medicine use optimisation is fully utilised along the care pathway in order to mitigate problems prevalent in the older population, such as polypharmacy and drug adherence. Therefore, the following position paper of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) outlines key points for policymakers to be mindful of in shaping responses.
EAHP calls on national governments and health system managers to acknowledge hospital pharmacists’ drug expertise by investing in medication reconciliation and optimisation roles in all healthcare facilities, including nursing homes, as a key part of the European level response to the increasing prevalence of polypharmacy.
EAHP calls for strengthened inter-sector communication, coordination and multidisciplinary collaboration as critical approaches …
Collaborators Delegates of the 49th EAHP General Assembly.
Contributors The position paper was approved and adopted by the Delegates of the 49th EAHP General Assembly in June 2019.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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