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Partnering with families and patient advocates: another line of defense in adverse event surveillance.
ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute Care Edition. August 1, 2019;24.
Having family members or patient advocates present during hospitalizations can help prevent errors. This newsletter article suggests that utilizing this risk prevention strategy in peripheral care areas such as radiology and other testing units could also prevent patient harm. Recommendations to ensure success of this approach include communicating with advocates, encouraging them to speak up, and activating a rapid response to patient deterioration.
Journal Article > Study
Association of ICU or hospital admission with unintentional discontinuation of medications for chronic diseases.
Bell CM, Brener SS, Gunraj N, et al. JAMA. 2011;306:840-847.
Care transitions are a vulnerable time for patients, particularly following hospitalization when discharge communication, pending tests, and medication reconciliation are all known challenges. This study analyzed a population-based data set containing both hospitalization and outpatient prescription records to identify the incidence of potentially unintentional medication discontinuation among patients 66 years or older. Analyzing nearly 400,000 patients, investigators found high rates of medication discontinuation ranging from 5% to 19% across 5 evidence-based medication classes (e.g., lipid lowering, thyroid replacement, antiplatelet agents) for hospitalized patients. Admission to the ICU was associated with an even greater risk of medication discontinuation. While some medication discontinuation is not surprising in the setting of a critical illness that may create new contraindications to preexisting medications, both this study and an accompanying editorial [see link below] raise appropriate concern about carefully reconciling chronic disease medications following hospitalization. A past AHRQ WebM&M conversation and perspective discussed the challenges and opportunities for improving care transitions.