New standard reinforces hospital pharmacist role in combating kidney disease

The role of clinical pharmacy in improving outcomes for Australians with kidney diseases has been updated and refined through the latest standard of pharmacy practice from the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA).

Developed with input from Kidney Health Australia (KHA), the Renal Society of Australasia and UK Renal Pharmacist Group, the Standard of practice in nephrology for pharmacy services addresses how a significant kidney disease burden has expanded traditional inpatient models, unequally affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and can be mitigated through dedicated pharmacist roles in hospitals.

SHPA Nephrology Chair Carla Scuderi says while risk of kidney disease and experience of symptoms is widespread in Australia, including pharmacist intervention as part of care can improve patient outcomes.

‘One in nine Australian adults will have some symptoms of kidney disease, while one in three are at risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD), and rates are much higher for those living in rural and remote areas.

‘In response to this prevalence, the model of care has expanded to include outpatient, ambulatory, clinic-based and home-based services, often in atypical settings such as satellite dialysis units and mobile dialysis services such as Australia’s Big Red Kidney Bus.

‘For patients with CKD in our hospitals, a pharmacist accompanying a doctor on hospital rounds has been shown to increase the proportion of doses adjusted to account for renal function, prevent adverse drug events and result in medicines-related cost savings.

‘Pharmacists’ interventions have a positive impact on outcomes for people with CKD, including improving the management of anaemia and blood pressure, and significantly reducing risk of hospitalisation and incidence of end-stage renal disease.’

Released on Early View this week, the Standard will be featured in the June 2020 issue of the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research (JPPR), available through Wiley publishing and free to SHPA members.

SHPA President Peter Fowler says with kidney disease noted as the world’s fastest-growing chronic disease, issues surrounding nephrology and good kidney health transcend clinical conversations.

‘The International Society of Nephrology’s Global Kidney Health Atlas emphasises the growing burden of kidney disease and significant inequities in access to treatment across world countries and regions.

‘In Australia, the incidence of end-stage kidney disease is substantially and persistently higher in the Indigenous population at all ages than in the non-Indigenous population, and the likelihood of receiving a kidney transplant is substantially lower and post-transplant outcomes are worse for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

‘Through our members’ experiences we know it is hugely important to acknowledge and expand nephrology services beyond the four walls of our hospital wards, which is where the majority of CKD care occurs.

‘Equity in access to care is one of the most urgent health issues of our time and, through this new Standard, SHPA is committed to building awareness and understanding of optimal pharmacy practice for all Australians managing kidney disease, wherever care is needed.’

Download the media release.