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Medication management

Minimizing risk for patients transitioning from hospital to home

By Heidi Wicks

The road from hospital to home can be a risky ride for patients who suddenly have to manage new medications or even more prescriptions than they had before.

Emergency room visits, hospital readmission and even fatalities are a few medication mismanagement risks, all of which increase the health-care system’s price tag.

The School of Pharmacy is seeking participants for a new research study that is aiming to make these events more preventable.

A new service offered by pharmacists at the Medication Therapy Services (MTS) Clinic will determine whether a medication therapy management service for patients being discharged from hospital can improve patients’ health and reduce strains on the system. If patients can’t come into the clinic, pharmacists will go into their homes or even offer the service through FaceTime.

New service

“Meeting with a pharmacist for an hour to discuss medication changes, ensure they are taking the right medications and address any problems they’re having right after they get out of hospital is a new service to support people after discharge,” explained Dr. Debbie Kelly, director of the Medication Therapy Services (MTS) Clinic in the School of Pharmacy.

The MTS Clinic is running the research project.

“Nurses tell us most questions people have when they’re going home are related to their medications. This service supports people as they move through the system from hospital back to their homes.”

After discharge, patients are randomly divided into two groups: one group will receive care as usual from their doctor and the other will have their medications assessed by a clinic pharmacist along with the usual care from their doctor.

“The two groups will be compared to determine whether specialized pharmacist services after hospital discharge is satisfactory to patients and their family doctors, improves patient health and reduces emergency room visits, hospital re-admissions and repeat trips to the doctor that could be avoided,” said Dr. Kelly.

If successful, the project will help ensure that patients are taking the right medications in the right way, improving individual health and making better use of the health-care system resources.

Recruitment for this project is ongoing until December 2017. Anyone interested in participating can contact Nicole Pittman at 777-7491 for more information.

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