Crotty M, Rowett D, Spurling L, Giles LC, Phillips PA. 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. Am J Geriatr Pharmacother.2(4):257-264

Flinders University Department of Rehabilitation and Aged Care, Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, South Australia.
The American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy (Impact Factor: 3.13). 01/2005; 2(4):257-64. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjopharm.2005.01.001
Source: PubMed


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.

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    • "According to a recent systematic review, interventions using educational outreach, on-site education and pharmacist medication reviews may reduce inappropriate drug use [28]. Successful educational interventions have been performed to decrease the use of psychotropic medications for institutionalized elderly patients [29-33] and to improve the quality of drug prescribing [34,35]. However, only a few studies have explored the intervention effects on older people‚Äôs well-being or their use of health services. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Use of inappropriate drugs is common among institutionalized older people. Rigorous trials investigating the effect of the education of staff in institutionalized settings on the harm related to older people's drug treatment are still scarce. The aim of this trial is to investigate whether training professionals in assisted living facilities reduces the use of inappropriate drugs among residents and has an effect on residents' quality of life and use of health services. Methods and design: During years 2011 and 2012, a sample of residents in assisted living facilities in Helsinki (approximately 212) will be recruited, having offered to participate in a trial aiming to reduce their harmful drugs. Their wards will be randomized into two arms: one, those in which staff will be trained in two half-day sessions, including case studies to identify inappropriate, anticholinergic and psychotropic drugs among their residents, and two, a control group with usual care procedures and delayed training. The intervention wards will have an appointed nurse who will be responsible for taking care of the medication of the residents on her ward, and taking any problems to the consulting doctor, who will be responsible for the overall care of the patient. The trial will last for twelve months, the assessment time points will be zero, six and twelve months. The primary outcomes will be the proportion of persons using inappropriate, anticholinergic, or more than two psychotropic drugs, and the change in the mean number of inappropriate, anticholinergic and psychotropic drugs among residents. Secondary endpoints will be, for example, the change in the mean number of drugs, the proportion of residents having significant drug-drug interactions, residents' health-related quality of life (HRQOL) according to the 15D instrument, cognition according to verbal fluency and clock-drawing tests and the use and cost of health services, especially hospitalizations. Discussion: To our knowledge, this is the first large-scale randomized trial exploring whether relatively light intervention, that is, staff training, will have an effect on reducing harmful drugs and improving QOL among institutionalized older people. Trial registration: ACTRN12611001078943.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Trials
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    • "Similar findings have been identified by Glintborg and colleagues [38] revealing that the hospital had insufficient knowledge of prescriptions and that they only reported half of the administered drugs in the discharge letter. The use of a pharmacist transition coordinator improved aspects of inappropriate use of medicines across health sectors [28] [50] [51]. "
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Work
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    • "Number of hospital admissions was measured in two of the studies (Zermansky 2006 [28], Crotty 2004b [14]). When data for deceased residents were included, there were no statistically significant differences between groups at eight weeks in the study by Crotty 2004b [14] (RR 0.58 (95% KI 0.28 to 1.21)). Neither was any statistically significant results for being admitted to hospital during a 6-month period reported in Zermansky 2006 [28] (OR 0.89 (95% CI 0.56 to 1.41)). "
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    ABSTRACT: Studies have shown that residents in nursing homes often are exposed to inappropriate medication. Particular concern has been raised about the consumption of psychoactive drugs, which are commonly prescribed for nursing home residents suffering from dementia. This review is an update of a Norwegian systematic review commissioned by the Norwegian Directorate of Health. The purpose of the review was to identify and summarise the effect of interventions aimed at reducing potentially inappropriate use or prescribing of drugs in nursing homes. We searched for systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials in the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, ISI Web of Knowledge, DARE and HTA, with the last update in April 2010. Two of the authors independently screened titles and abstracts for inclusion or exclusion. Data on interventions, participants, comparison intervention, and outcomes were extracted from the included studies. Risk of bias and quality of evidence were assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Table and GRADE, respectively. Outcomes assessed were use of or prescribing of drugs (primary) and the health-related outcomes falls, physical limitation, hospitalisation and mortality (secondary). Due to heterogeneity in interventions and outcomes, we employed a narrative approach. Twenty randomised controlled trials were included from 1631 evaluated references. Ten studies tested different kinds of educational interventions while seven studies tested medication reviews by pharmacists. Only one study was found for each of the interventions geriatric care teams, early psychiatric intervening or activities for the residents combined with education of health care personnel. Several reviews were identified, but these either concerned elderly in general or did not satisfy all the requirements for systematic reviews. Interventions using educational outreach, on-site education given alone or as part of an intervention package and pharmacist medication review may under certain circumstances reduce inappropriate drug use, but the evidence is of low quality. Due to poor quality of the evidence, no conclusions may be drawn about the effect of the other three interventions on drug use, or of either intervention on health-related outcomes.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · BMC Geriatrics
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