Does the addition of a pharmacist transition coordinator improve evidence-based medication management and health outcomes in older adults moving from the hospital to a long-term care facility? Results of a randomized, controlled trial.

Flinders University Department of Rehabilitation and Aged Care, Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, South Australia.
The American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy (Impact Factor: 2.65). 01/2005; 2(4):257-64. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjopharm.2005.01.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Poorly executed transfers of older patients from hospitals to long-term care facilities carry the risk of fragmentation of care, poor clinical outcomes, inappropriate use of emergency department services, and hospital readmission.
This study was conducted to assess the impact of adding a pharmacist transition coordinator on evidence-based medication management and health outcomes in older adults undergoing first-time transfer from a hospital to a long-term care facility.
This randomized, single-blind, controlled trial enrolled hospitalized older adults awaiting transfer to a long-term residential care facility for the first time. Patients were randomized either to receive the services of the pharmacist transition coordinator (intervention group) or to undergo the usual hospital discharge process (control group). The intervention included medication-management transfer summaries from hospitals, timely coordinated medication reviews by accredited community pharmacists, and case conferences with physicians and pharmacists. The primary outcome was the quality of prescribing, measured using the Medication Appropriateness Index (MAI). Secondary outcomes were emergency department visits, hospital readmissions, adverse drug events, falls, worsening mobility, worsening behaviors, increased confusion, and worsening pain.
One hundred ten older adults (67 women, 43 men; mean [SD] age, 82.7 [6.4] years) were recruited from 3 metropolitan hospitals and assigned to 85 metropolitan long-term care facilities. Fifty-six patients were randomized to the intervention group and 54 to the control group; 44 patients in each group were evaluable at 8-week follow-up. There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics between treatment groups, with the exception of the number of medications discontinued during hospitalization: a mean of 1.1 more drugs was discontinued in the control group compared with the intervention group (P = 0.011). The majority of patients (35 [62.5%] in the intervention group, 41 [76.0%] in the control group) changed physicians as part of the transition to a long-term care facility. At 8-week follow-up, there was no change in MAI from baseline in the intervention group, whereas it had worsened in the control group (mean [95% CI], 2.5 [1.4-3.7] vs 6.5 [3.9-9.1], respectively; P = 0.007). Patients who received the intervention and were alive at follow-up exhibited a significant protective effect of the intervention against worsening pain (relative risk ratio [95% CI], 0.55 [0.32-0.94]; P = 0.023) and hospital usage (i.e., the combination of emergency department visits and hospital readmissions) (0.38 [0.15-0.99]; P = 0.035), but did not differ from control patients in terms of adverse drug events (1.05 [0.66-1.68]), falls (1.19 [0.71-1.99]), worsening mobility (0.39 [0.13-1.15]), worsening behaviors (0.52 [0.25-1.10]), or increased confusion (0.59 [0.28-1.22]). When data for patients who had died were included, the intervention had no effect on hospital usage in all patients (0.58 [0.28-1.21]).
Older people transferring from hospital to a long-term care facility are vulnerable to fragmentation of care and adverse events. In this study, use of a pharmacist transition coordinator improved aspects of inappropriate use of medicines across health sectors.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: When a patient's transition from the hospital to home is less than optimal, the repercussions can be far-reaching hospital - readmission, adverse medical events, and even mortality. Elderly, especially frail older patients with complex health care problems appear to be a group particularly at risk for adverse events in general, and during transitions across health providers in particular. We undertook a systematic review to identify interventions designed to improve patient safety during transitional care of the elderly, with a particular focus on discharge interventions. We searched the literature for qualitative and quantitative studies on the subject published over the past ten years. The review revealed a set of potential intervention types aimed at the improvement of communication that contribute to safe transitional care. Intervention types included profession-oriented interventions (e. g. education and training), organisational/culture interventions (e. g. transfer nurse, discharge protocol, discharge planning, medication reconciliation, standardized discharge letter, electronic tools), or patient and next of kin oriented interventions (e. g. patient awareness and empowerment, discharge support). Results strongly indicate that elderly discharged from hospital to the community will benefit from targeted interventions aimed to improve transfer across healthcare settings. Future interventions should take into account multi-component and multi-disciplinary interventions incorporating several single interventions combined.
    Work 01/2012; DOI:10.3233/WOR-2012-0544-2915 · 0.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Interventions to improve prescribing in the nursing home environment are many and varied. The critical literature review presented in Paper 1 (Parsons et al., 2011, International Journal of Older People Nursing 6, 45-54) in this series discussed the main issues repeatedly identified as problematic, and this paper summarises the main approaches which have been used to attempt to improve prescribing. These include national legislation which demands documented justification for the prescribing of medicines, medication review, approaches to reducing medication errors, improving communication across care boundaries and assessment teams and alternative service models. It is difficult to make global recommendations as some of these approaches are country specific or have been delivered in different ways, involving different professionals. However, a series of prompt questions have been provided which may assist nursing home staff in deciding whether prescribing is optimal in a resident or if an intervention is required which may lead to an overall improvement in outcomes.
    International Journal of Older People Nursing 03/2011; 6(1):55-62. DOI:10.1111/j.1748-3743.2010.00263.x
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Elderly people are the principal consumers of prescription drugs. The more the medication used by the patient, the greater the likelihood there is of the patient being subjected to potentially inappropriate drug therapy (PIDT). PIDT has been measured in the literature with both implicit and explicit tools. The purpose of this review was to assess the use of tools to detect PIDT in various studies and to determine which terms are used to refer to PIDT in practice. A systematic review was conducted according to the following steps: the first was identification. In this step, studies were selected from different combinations of the descriptors 'aged', 'elderly', 'inappropriate prescribing' and 'drug utilization' in three different languages, using the Embase, Medline, Scielo, Scopus and Web of Science databases. Second, the papers that satisfied the inclusion criteria for data extraction were carefully examined by three evaluators to determine the tools used and terms that referred to PIDT. From the combinations of keywords, 8610 articles were found. At the end of the selection process, 119 of the articles complied with the specified criteria. The degree of agreement among evaluators was moderate for the study titles (κ1 = 0·479) and substantial for abstracts (κ2 = 0·647). With respect to the PIDT evaluation criteria used by the studies, 27·7% used two criteria. Of the 27 evaluation criteria identified, the Beers criteria were used by 82·3% of the studies. More than 50 different terms to identify PIDT were found in the literature. This review is the first study to conceptualize and discuss terms that refer to PIDT. At present, there is no consensus regarding terms used to refer to PIDT, with over 50 different terms currently in use. This review shows an increase in the number of articles aimed at evaluating PIDT using implicit and explicit tools. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
    Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics 02/2015; 40(2). DOI:10.1111/jcpt.12246 · 1.53 Impact Factor

Maria Crotty