Comprehensive geriatric assessment of hospitalised patients implies optimising patients' medical treatment, and good coordination between hospital and general practice is essential for the quality of the drug treatment. Only a few studies have investigated the continuation of patients' medication from primary care to hospital and back again to primary care.
To describe changes of drug therapy during hospital stay in a geriatric ward and the following acceptance of these changes in primary cares after discharge.
An observational register study following 1,550 geriatric patients' pharmacological treatment longitudinally across hospital stay, by linkage of a primary care prescription database and hospital medical records. The medication regimens for the individual patients were compared at three cross sections: primary care before hospitalisation, during hospital stay and primary care after hospitalisation, analysed according to drug therapy, co-morbidity, functionality and outpatient follow-up.
Patients were using an average of 8.2 drugs before hospital admission, of which an average of 0.9 drugs per patient was discontinued or switched during hospitalisation. An average of 1.7 new drugs per patient was initiated by the hospital physicians. After discharge, 63.9 % of the changes initiated by hospital physicians were continued in primary care. Of new drugs initiated in hospital 42.7 % were accepted in primary care.
A relatively small proportion of drugs was switched or discontinued and the average number of drugs increased during hospital stay. Of these changes, two thirds were accepted in primary care after discharge and less than half of newly initiated drugs were continued in primary.