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Impact of pharmacist interventions in older patients: a prospective study in a tertiary hospital in Germany

Authors Cortejoso L, Dietz RA, Hofmann G, Gosch M, Sattler A

Received 23 March 2016

Accepted for publication 16 May 2016

Published 26 September 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 1343—1350


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

L Cortejoso,1 RA Dietz,2 G Hofmann,1 M Gosch,2 A Sattler1

1Department of Pharmacy, 2Department of Geriatrics, Hospital Nuremberg, Paracelsus Medical Private University Nuremberg, Nuremberg, Germany

Background: Inappropriate pharmacotherapy among older adults remains a critical issue in our health care systems. Besides polypharmacy and multiple comorbidities, the age-related pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic changes may increase the risk of adverse drug reactions and medication errors.
Objective: The main target of this study was to describe the characteristics of pharmaceutical interventions in two geriatric wards (orthogeriatric ward and geriatric day unit) of a general teaching hospital and to evaluate the clinical significance of the detected medication errors.
Materials and methods: The study was conducted between August 2014 and October 2015 and was based on a triple approach that included validation of medical orders, medication reconciliation at patients’ admission, and a predischarge planning appointment with the patient. The validation of medical orders was based on analyzing the suitability of the drugs prescribed, the drug dose depending on the patient’s characteristics, the presence of contraindications and interactions between drugs, and the proposal of alternative drugs included in the hospital formulary.
Results: A total of 2,307 interventions associated to a medication error in 15,282 medical orders for 1,859 older patients were recorded. The greater part of the interventions carried out on the orthogeriatric ward at admission and at discharge were due to omission of a drug in the medical order (20.0%) and clinically significant interactions requiring monitoring (30.4%), respectively. The main factor triggering pharmacist’s recommendations on the geriatric day unit was clinically significant interactions (21.1%). With regard to the clinical severity of the detected errors, 68.1% were considered significant, 24.8% were of minor significance, and 7.2% were clinically serious.
Conclusion: Our findings show the importance of clinical pharmacist involvement in the optimization of pharmacotherapy in older adults, ensuring that they receive effective, safe, and efficient drug therapy.

Keywords: older adults, medication errors, pharmacist interventions

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