Veterans' MATES

Since 2004, the centre has been conducting the highly successful Veterans’ MATES program which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The program is a data-driven, behavioural change intervention that has provided individualised medicine advice to more than 300,000 veterans and  33,000 doctors. All pharmacies and aged-care facilities also receive educational material. The Veterans’ MATES program is one of the first examples in the world of a precision public health intervention. The program provides interventions for a range of health topics, including pain, depression, osteoporosis, heart burn and diabetes. It addresses medication-specific topics such as medicines and the risk of falls, medicine use in persons with renal impairment, and managing side effects from anticholinergic medicines. For a full list of topics, see the Veterans’ MATES website

Quality Use of Medicines in People Living with Dementia: Determining research priorities

This project aims to identify the top 10 unanswered quality use of medicines questions for people with dementia. These questions will be generated and prioritised by Australians living with dementia, carers, and health care providers (clinicians).

Quality use of medicines means using medicines safely and effectively to get the best possible health outcomes. It also means only using medicines when they are needed. People living with dementia represent a diverse adult health population, encompassing a range co-morbidities and socio-cultural backgrounds. There are many potential areas of research that could improve quality use of medicines for people with dementia.

Historically, health research questions have been led by either drug companies or researchers, with little involvement from clinicians or consumers. This project aims to determine which questions are important to people with dementia and their care team, to prioritise research in these areas and ensure that outcomes of research are directly relevant to the care of people living with dementia. This will lead to improving how medicines are used which in turn will improve health outcomes in people living with dementia.

This Priority Setting Partnership is funded by an AAG Research Trust/Dementia Australia Research Foundation - 2019 Strategic Research grant. This study is being conducted in collaboration with researchers from the University of Sydney, Monash University and the University of New South Wales and in partnership with the James Lind Alliance, Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy, Australian Association of Gerontology, Australian College of Nurse Practitioners, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Leading Age Services Australia, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association, Speech Pathology Australia and The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia. This project is supported by a Steering Group which is made up of health care professionals and consumers. Information about the Steering Group members for this project can be found here.

What questions and concerns do you have about medicine use in people living with dementia?

If you are a person living with dementia, a carer of a person living with dementia or a health care professional interested in helping shape our research questions, please follow the links to the surveys:

Consumer survey for people living with dementia and carers, advocates, family and friends of people living with dementia. 

Clinician survey for healthcare professionals (or healthcare professionals in training) and staff members of healthcare organisations that provides care to people living with dementia.

If you have any questions or would like to be sent a hard-copy version of the survey, contact us at: priorities.dementia@unisa.edu.au

Development of Evidence-Based Dose Individualisation Strategies

Precision dosing of medicines is one of the ways we can make medicine use safer. The concept of precision dosing or dose individualisation is where doses are tailored to each individual patient‘s needs, taking into account their liver and kidney function, interacting medicines and interacting conditions. Utilising pharmacokinetic modelling and simulation, this research program focuses on providing an evidence-based approach to the appropriate prescription and management of medications in clinical practice.

Deprescribing

As people age, medications that were once appropriate (where the benefits outweighed the harms) can become inappropriate (for example, no longer necessary or high risk). Deprescribing is the process of withdrawal of inappropriate medications, supervised by a healthcare professional with the goal of managing multiple medicine use and improving health outcomes. This program of research looks into how older adults and carers feel about ceasing medicines and improving shared decision making as well as the development and implementation of deprescribing guidelines for practitioners.

Psychotropic medicine use in Australian Children

There is global evidence that prescribing psychotropic medicines (medicines that affect the mind) to children is increasing, despite limited evidence to support the efficacy and safety of these medicines in children. This project investigates patterns of use of antidepressant, anxiolytic and antipsychotic (psychotropic) medicines in children in Australia. Of particular interest is psychotropic medicine use in children with autism spectrum disorder due to the increasing prevalence of the disorder, and associated prescribing.