Drug treatment associated problems are common and are the cause of a large proportion of hospitalizations in old people. People with dementia are especially at risk of drug-related problems. The objectives of this study were to assess the occurrence and character of drug-related problems that lead to acute hospital admissions among old people (=65 years) with dementia or cognitive impairment.
This study was conducted in orthopedic and internal medicine wards in two hospitals in Northern Sweden. Information about acute admissions was collected from the medical records. A total of 458 people aged 65 years or older with dementia or cognitive impairment were included in the study. The contribution of drug-related problems to each hospitalization was assessed.
Of 458 acute hospital admissions, 189 (41.3 %) were determined to be drug-related. The most common drug-related problem (86/189; 45.5 %) was an adverse drug reaction. In total, 264 drugs were judged to be involved in 189 drug-related admissions, of which cardiovascular (29.5 %) and psychotropic (26.9 %) drugs were the most commonly involved drug classes. The relationship between the drug-related problem and the admission was judged certain in 25 cases, probable in 78 cases, and possible in 86 cases. Drug-related admissions were more common among people taking more drugs (p = 0.035) and among younger patients (p = 0.031).
Drug-related problems appear to be responsible for a major proportion of hospitalizations among old people with dementia or cognitive impairment. Targeted interventions such as education and medication reviews may be warranted to reduce drug-related problems.
Drug-related problems, including medication errors and adverse drug events, are common among old people. Due to, for example, greater susceptibility to side effects, people with dementia are even more at risk of drug-related problems. The objectives of this study were to assess the occurrence and character of drug-related problems found among old people with dementia or cognitive impairment.
Data from a randomized controlled clinical trial exploring the effects of a pharmacist intervention as part of a hospital ward team in patients 65 years and older with dementia or cognitive impairment were used. The study was conducted between 2012 and 2014 in the orthopedic and medicine wards in two hospitals located in Northern Sweden. Drug-related problems identified in this patient group were classified and described, and associations with different factors were investigated.
Clinical pharmacists identified at least one DRP in 66% (140/212) of participants in the intervention group, for a total of 310 DRPs. Ineffective drug/inappropriate drug and unnecessary drug therapy were the most common drug-related problems. Discontinuation of drug therapy was the most common action carried out. Drug-related problems were more common among people prescribed a larger number of drugs and among people with an earlier stroke.
Drug-related problems are common among people with dementia and cognitive impairment. Comprehensive medication reviews conducted by clinical pharmacists as part of a health care team might be important to prevent, identify and solve these problems.
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Clinical pharmacists play an increasing role in the pharmacological treatment of hospital-admitted older patients with dementia or cognitive impairment. In an earlier randomised controlled trial, clinical pharmacist involvement in the ward team could significantly reduce drug-related readmissions in patient subgroups. However, the economic impact of the intervention has not been addressed so far.
To evaluate the economic impact of clinical pharmacist engagement in hospital ward teams for medication therapy management in older patients with dementia or cognitive impairments.
Economic evaluation of a randomised controlled trial conducted in two hospitals in Northern Sweden between January 2012 and December 2014. Participants included 460 hospital-admitted older patients with dementia or cognitive impairments. Patients were randomly assigned to usual care, or usual care with pharmacist intervention; the intervention consisted of medication reconciliation, medication review, and participation in ward rounds. The outcomes were measured as drug-related readmissions to hospital as assessed by a group of external experts, 180 and 30 days after discharge. Costs included pharmacists' direct labour costs for the interventions, average costs for drug-related readmissions, and from this the total cost per person was calculated.
The effect of the intervention on drug-related readmissions within 180 days was significant in patients without heart failure (subgroup analysis), and the intervention resulted in cost savings of €950 per person in this subgroup. Drug-related readmissions within 30 days were reduced in the total sample (post-hoc analysis), and the cost-savings in this intervention group were €460 per person.
Post-hoc and subgroup analyses indicate that engagement of pharmacists in hospital ward teams reduced the number of drug-related readmissions, and that the cost per person was lower in the intervention group compared to the control group. Including clinical pharmacists created savings in the subgroups of older patients with dementia or cognitive impairments.