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Open Access Study protocol

A pharmacist-led intervention for increasing the uptake of Home Medicines Review (HMR) among residents of retirement villages (PHARMER): protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial

Cik Yin Lee1, Johnson George1, Rohan A Elliott12 and Kay Stewart1*

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Medicine Use and Safety, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, 381 Royal Parade, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia

2 Pharmacy Department, Austin Health, 145 Studley Road, P.O.Box 555, Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia

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BMC Health Services Research 2011, 11:292  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-292

Published: 31 October 2011



The majority of retirement village residents are at risk of medication misadventure. In a recent survey of retirement village residents in Victoria, two-thirds had at least one medication-related risk factor, and hence were eligible to receive a government-subsidised Home Medicines Review (HMR). However, only 6% of eligible residents had received a HMR in the previous 12 months. Reasons for the poor uptake of HMR, and interventions for improving HMR uptake, have been identified and developed with input from stakeholders. The trial will test the effect of Pharmacist-conducted HMR to Address the Risk of Medication-related Events in Retirement Villages (PHARMER) in improving the uptake of HMRs among retirement village residents.


This is a multicentre prospective cluster randomised controlled trial. Ten retirement villages in Victoria, Australia will be recruited for this trial. Retirement villages will be selected in consultation with the Residents of Retirement Villages Victoria Inc. (RRVV), based on geographical locations (e.g. northeast or southwest), size and other factors. Residents from selected villages will be recruited with the help of RRVV Resident Liaison Officers using a range of strategies. Randomisation will be by geographical location to minimise contamination. Participating villages and residents will be allocated to either Pharmacist Intervention Group (PIG) or Usual Care Group (UCG). Each group will include five retirement villages and will have at least 77 residents in total. The intervention (PHARMER) comprises educating residents regarding HMR, and using a risk assessment checklist by residents to notify their General Practitioners of their medication risk. Uptake of HMR and medication adherence will be assessed in both PIG and UCG at three and six months using telephone interviews and questionnaires.


This study is the first to develop and test an intervention to improve the uptake of HMR among Australian residents in retirement villages, with a view to decreasing medication risk. A multi-faceted interventional approach will be used as suggested by stakeholders. The trial is expected to be complete by late 2011 and results will be available in 2012.

Trial Registration

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12611000109909)