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Continuity in medication management

Continuity in medication management occurs when all components of the medication management cycle, relevant to the episode of care, are completed and information is transferred to the next care setting.

In accordance with the Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council’s (APAC) Guiding principles to achieve continuity in medication management, each hospital should have policies and guidelines in place to ensure continuity in medication management. This means the hospital and health care professional will maintain complete and accurate information about the patient’s medicines and that it will be available at the point of care. Responsibility and accountability for collecting and maintaining this information should be documented in these medication management policies and guidelines.

Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council’s guiding principles

The Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council’s (APAC) Guiding principles to achieve continuity in medication management provides the framework for an organisation’s medication management policy. These principles include:

  • principles one to three address organisational obligations in leadership, responsibility and accountability for medication management within the organisation. 
  • principles four to nine outline specific patient care activities to ensure continuity in medication management.
  • principle 10 relates to quality assurance.

Key performance indicators

The South Australian APAC key performance indicators were developed by SA Health to measure the impact of implementing each of the APAC guiding principles. Where possible, these were aligned with existing national quality
use of medicines indicators.

See the Continuity in Medication Management: South Australian APAC key performance indicators for hospitals participating in pharmaceutical reform (PDF 136KB) for more information on SA Health's Key performance indicators.

SA Health's Continuity in Medication Management Handbook

SA Health has produced a handbook to assist hospitals to implement the patient care activities described in the APAC guiding principles. The Handbook (PDF 1870KB) is a useful resource for improving medication management and includes information on the following topics:

  • medication history
  • medication review and reconciliation
  • medication action plan
  • medicines information for patients
  • ongoing access to medication
  • communicating medicines information to other health care professionals

Online courses and other resources

A list of online training courses and other resources are available for continuity in medication management. See the following pages:

Preventing adverse drug events

Obtaining complete and accurate information about a patient’s previous adverse drug reactions and allergies is a critical component of taking a best possible medication history. Documentation and communication of both known and new adverse drug events needs to be considered at each step of the medication management cycle; for example, prior to prescribing, dispensing and administering a medicine.

Policy and guidelines

The purpose of the SA Health Preventing Adverse Drug Events – documenting, monitoring and communicating adverse drug reactions and allergies Policy Directive (PDF 169KB) is to ensure that the correct information about patients’ known adverse drug reactions and allergies is available and referred to at the time of prescribing, dispensing and administering a medication.

The Preventing Adverse Drug Events Guideline (PDF 294KB) outlines the responsibilities and procedures for health professionals to document and report both known and new adverse drug reactions and allergies.

Further information

For more information, contact Medication Safety and Pharmaceutical Reforms.

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