Embedded on-site aged care pharmacists in Australia: Insights from early adopters of a new workforce model

Amanda J. Cross, J. Simon Bell, Michelle Steeper, Adam La Caze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: To explore the roles of early adopters of Australia's embedded on-site pharmacist model in supporting quality use of medications in residential aged care facilities (RACFs). 

Methods: Qualitative semistructured interviews were conducted with 15 pharmacists working as embedded on-site pharmacists, or beyond the scope of traditional consultant pharmacist roles in Australian RACFs. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed independently by two investigators using an inductive approach. Deductive analysis was also undertaken using a knowledge broker framework: knowledge manager, linkage agent and capacity builder. 

Results: Dominant themes were roles and benefits of embedded pharmacists, factors associated with success and challenges. Roles and benefits included (1) resident-level interventions and an enhanced ability to provide collaborative outcome-focussed resident-centred care, including timely input and follow-up, and improved relationships with residents, family and interdisciplinary team; and (2) system-level interventions such as contributing to clinical governance and quality improvement. Factors associated with success included personal capabilities and approach of the pharmacist, and organisational culture and sector-wide support. Challenges included pharmacist workforce shortages, perceived lack of pharmacist readiness and difficulty determining an appropriate service model. Deductive coding demonstrated roles of embedded pharmacists were consistent with all three activities of a knowledge broker. 

Conclusions: This study highlights the resident- and system-level roles and benefits of embedded on-site pharmacists, and provides a framework for defining this emerging workforce model in Australian RACFs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-90
Number of pages12
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • knowledge management
  • long-term care
  • medication therapy management
  • patient safety
  • pharmacists

Cite this