Magazine article Drug Topics

Tool Kit May Improve Drug Use in Long-Term Care

Magazine article Drug Topics

Tool Kit May Improve Drug Use in Long-Term Care

Article excerpt

LONG-TERM CARE

Physicians and pharmacists have joined forces to improve the use of medications in long-term care facilities. The American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) and the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) have established a Multidisciplinary Medication Management (M3) project to encourage collaboration among consultant pharmacists, medical directors, attending physicians, and other healthcare professionals in longterm care.

The M3 project was initiated in December 2000. The M3 commit-- tee outlined various projects that could be developed to serve as educational tools. The first part of the project identified the top 10 most harmful drug interactions seen in long-term care patients. The second part of the project focused on medication-related problems.

At this time, a medicationmanagement tool kit is being devised through a joint effort of all parties concerned. The ultimate goal of this tool kit is to aid in enhancing the overall pharmacological care of patients in longterm care, which includes prescribing, monitoring of drug therapy, use of drugs, and prevention of medication errors. The tool kit is intended to provide valuable, pertinent, and current medical information to further educate healthcare professionals and demonstrate how appropriate drug therapy management can have a positive impact on patient care.

For instance, many medication errors occur because of under- or overprescribing, illegible handwriting, lack of documentation, or failure to recognize adverse drug events. The tool kit can serve as a reference to aid physicians in finetuning their prescribing methods.

The tool kit will include sections covering:

* Prescribing techniques

*Transcribing of orders

*The dispensing process of the pharmacy

* Medication delivery verification, medication administration

*Monitoring and identification of adverse drug reactions

*Tracking and reporting documentation

* Common geriatric syndromes caused by drugs

* Reference sections on technology

* Antibiotic use

* Psychotropic drug issues

*Issues on quality assurance

According to Jacob Dimant, M.D., chairman of the AMDA multidisciplinary medications management committee, "Improvement in prescribing practices and reduction in medication errors depends on implementing systems and care processes that provide physicians with timely, practical information at the point of prescribing-as well as a process to continually evaluate the therapeutic options and monitor for efficacy and adverse reactions. …

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