Prioritizing interventions to manage polypharmacy in Australian aged care facilities

Natali Jokanovic, Kate N. Wang, Michael J. Dooley, Samanta Lalic, Edwin CK. Tan, Carl M. Kirkpatrick, J. Simon Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Polypharmacy is highly prevalent in residential aged care facilities (RACFs). Although polypharmacy is sometimes unavoidable, polypharmacy has been associated with increased morbidity and mortality. 

Objective: To identify and prioritize a range of potential interventions to manage polypharmacy in RACFs from the perspectives of health care professionals, health policy and consumer representatives. 

Methods: Two nominal group technique (NGT) sessions were convened in August 2015. A purposive sample (n = 19) of clinicians, researchers, managers and representatives of consumer, professional and health policy organizations were asked to nominate interventions to address the prevalence and appropriateness of medication use. Participants were then asked to prioritize five interventions suitable for possible implementation at the system level. 

Results: Six of 16 potential interventions were prioritized highest for possible implementation in clinical practice, with two interventions prioritized as second highest. The top interventions in rank order were 'implementation of a pharmacist-led medication reconciliation service for new residents,' 'conduct facility-level audits and feedback to staff and health care professionals,' 'develop deprescribing scripts to assist clinician-resident discussion,' 'develop or revise prescribing guidelines specific to older people with multimorbidity in RACFs,' 'implement electronic medication charts and records' and 'better support Medication Advisory Committees (MACs) to address medication appropriateness'. 

Conclusion: This study prioritized a range of potential interventions that may be used to assist clinicians and policy makers develop a comprehensive strategy to manage polypharmacy in RACFs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-574
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • Deprescribing
  • Long-term care
  • Nominal group technique
  • Nursing homes
  • Polypharmacy

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