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Nanji K. UpToDate. June 23, 2022.
Perioperative adverse drug events are common and understudied. This review examines factors that contribute to adverse drug events in the surgical setting and discusses prevention strategies that focus on medication reconciliation, technology, standardization, and institutional change.
Jambon J, Choukroun C, Roux-Marson C, et al. Clin Neuropharmacol. 2022;45:65-71.
Polypharmacy in older adults is an ongoing safety concern due to the risk of being prescribed a potentially inappropriate medication or co-prescription of medications with dangerous interactions. In this study of adults aged 65 and older with chronic pain, 54% were taking at least one potentially inappropriate medication and 43% were at moderate or high risk of adverse drug events. Measures such as involvement of a pharmacist in medication review could reduce risk of adverse drug events in older adult outpatients.
Molist-Brunet N, Sevilla-Sánchez D, Puigoriol-Juvanteny E, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19:3423.
Inappropriate prescribing and polypharmacy can place older adults at increased risk for medication-related adverse events. This study found that up to 90% of older adults had at least one inappropriate prescription, regardless of residential setting but medication review resulted in a greater decrease in risk factors for medication-related adverse events (e.g., polypharmacy, therapeutic complexity) among nursing home patients compared to patients living at home.
Díez R, Cadenas R, Susperregui J, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19:4313.
Older adults living in nursing homes are at increased risk of polypharmacy and its associated adverse outcomes, such as drug-drug interactions. The medication records of 222 older adult residents of one Spanish nursing home were screened for potential drug-drug adverse events. Nearly all included residents were taking at least one potentially inappropriate medication, and drug-drug interactions were common.
Fischer SH, Shih RA, McMullen TL, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022;70:1047-1056.
Medication reconciliation (MR) occurs during transitions of care and is the process of reviewing a patient’s medication list and comparing it with the regimen being considered for the new setting of care. This study developed and tested standardized assessment data elements (SADE) for reconciliation of high-risk medications in post-acute care settings. The final set included seven elements; results demonstrate feasibility and moderate to strong reliability. The resulting seven data elements may provide the means for post-acute care settings to assess and improve this important quality process. 
Uitvlugt EB, Heer SE, van den Bemt BJF, et al. Res Soc Admin Pharm. 2022;18:2651-2658.
Pharmacists play a critical role in medication safety during transitions of care. This multi-center study found that a transitional pharmacy care program (including teach-back, pharmacy discharge letter, home visit by community pharmacist, and medication reconciliation by both the community and hospital pharmacist) did not decrease the proportion of patients with adverse drug events (ADE) after hospital discharge. The authors discuss several possible explanations as to why the intervention did not impact ADEs and suggest that a process evaluation is needed to explore ways in which a transitional pharmacy care program could reduce ADEs.

Studies show that home visits to patients recently discharged from the hospital can help prevent unnecessary readmission.1 Providing continuing care instructions to patients in their homes—where they may be less overwhelmed than in the hospital—may also be a key mechanism for preventing readmission.2 Home visit clinicians and technicians can note any health concerns in the home environment and help patients understand their care plan in the context of that environment.2

Patterson ME, Bollinger S, Coleman C, et al. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2022;18:2830-2836.
Medication errors are common among older adults discharged to long-term care facilities. Researchers reviewed medication discrepancy data from four long-term care facilities over a 9-month period and found that nearly 41% of newly admitted or re-admitted residents had at least one medication discrepancy discovered at nursing home intake. Residents who were prescribed 14 or more medications and those with certain comorbidities (e.g., heart failure, anemia, hypertension) were at greatest risk for discrepancies. Higher discrepancies occurred with respiratory and analgesic medications, underscoring the importance of medication reconciliation for residents with respiratory conditions or pain.
Latimer S, Hewitt J, de Wet C, et al. J Clin Nurs. 2022;Epub Mar 6.
Medication reconciliation at hospital discharge has become a mainstay of patient safety efforts with most of the focus on pharmacist involvement. Focus groups of hospital nurses were conducted to elicit their perspectives on their role in medication reconciliation. Three themes emerged: nurses' role involves chasing, checking, and educating; burden of undertaking medication reconciliation at hospital discharge; team collaboration and communication in medication reconciliation.
Mahomedradja RF, van den Beukel TO, van den Bos M, et al. BMC Emerg Med. 2022;22:35.
The potential for medication errors may increase due to redeployment and reorganization of hospital resources during COVID-19 surges. In this study of patients hospitalized during the first wave of the pandemic, over 90% had at least one prescribing error three months after hospitalization. Intensive care unit admission and a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma were risk factors for prescribing errors. Acknowledging and understanding these risk factors allows hospital leadership to target interventions for this population.
Zhu J, Weingart SN. UpToDate. Mar 18, 2022.
Unsafe medication systems in hospitals can lead to adverse drug events (ADEs). This review discusses patient care and organizational factors that contribute to ADEs, methods to detect medication errors, and prevention strategies such as medication reconciliation and enhanced pharmacist participation.
Andersen TS, Gemmer MN, Sejberg HRC, et al. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2022;15:142.
Conducting a complete medication reconciliation in the emergency department may be difficult or even impossible if the patient is unable to speak for themselves. In these instances, clinicians must rely solely on electronic records of medication prescriptions, which do not always reflect the medications being taken. This analysis of prescriptions entered into the Danish Shared Medication Record (SMR) and patient reports of medications taken showed 81% of patients had at least one discrepancy, the most common of which was discontinued medications still showing in the SMR.
Shah AS, Hollingsworth EK, Shotwell MS, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022;70:1180-1189.
Medication reconciliations, including conducting a best possible medication history (BPMH), may occur multiple times during a hospital stay, especially at admission and discharge. By conducting BPMH analysis of 372 hospitalized older adults taking at least 5 medications at admission, researchers found that nearly 90% had at least one discrepancy. Lower age, total prehospital medication count, and admission from a non-home setting were statistically associated with more discrepancies.
Gionfriddo MR, Duboski V, Middernacht A, et al. PLoS ONE. 2021;16:e0260882.
Medication reconciliation is a widely used strategy to reduce medication adverse events in acute care; however, its use in primary care is less studied. The aims of this study were to identify behaviors indicative of obtaining a best possible medication history, barriers to medication reconciliation, and what improvements could be made. Numerous inconsistencies related to  medication reconciliation were identified (i.e. standardization, knowledge, importance, and inadequate integration).
van der Nat DJ, Taks M, Huiskes VJB, et al. Int J Clin Pharm. 2022;44:539-547.
Medication reconciliation is a common tool used to identify medication discrepancies and inconsistencies. This study explored clinically relevant deviations in a patient’s medication list by comparing the personal heath record (used by patients) and medication reconciliation during hospital admission. Clinically relevant deviations were higher among patients with individual multi-dose packaging and patients using eight or more medications.
Dionisi S, Di Simone E, Liquori G, et al. Public Health Nurs. 2021;Epub Dec 31.
Causes of medication errors occurring in home care may differ from those in the hospital setting. This systematic review identified three main risk factors for medication errors in the home: transition documentation, medication reconciliation, and communication among the multidisciplinary team. Most studies recommend involvement of a pharmacist as a member of the care team.
Bourne RS, Jennings JK, Panagioti M, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Jan 18.
Patients transferring from the intensive care unit (ICU) to the hospital ward may experience medication errors. This systematic review examined medication-related interventions on the impact of medication errors in ICU patients transferring to the hospital ward. Seventeen studies were included with five identified intervention components. Multi-component studies based on staff education and guidelines were effective at achieving almost four times more deprescribing on inappropriate medications by the time of discharge. Recommendations for improving transfers are included.
Ebbens MM, Gombert-Handoko KB, Wesselink EJ, et al. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021;22:2553-2558.e1.
Medication reconciliation has been shown to reduce medication errors but is a time-consuming process. This study compared medication reconciliation via a patient portal with those performed by a pharmacy technician (usual care). Medication discrepancies were similar between both groups, and patients were satisfied using the patient portal, which saved 6.8 minutes per patient compared with usual care.
Mekonnen AB, Redley B, Courten B, et al. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2021;87:4150-4172.
Potentially inappropriate prescribing in older adults can result in medication-related harm. This systematic review of 63 studies found that potentially inappropriate prescribing was significantly associated with several system-related and health-related outcomes for older adults, including mortality, readmissions, adverse drug events, and functional decline.