While medications are important for the treatment of patients, many can have adverse effects if mismanaged. Some of these effects can be serious enough to lead to hospitalizations. Therefore, it is especially important to understand how to properly manage patients’ medicine regimens.
One of the times patients are most vulnerable to medicine mismanagement is during transitions of care. It is during this time that we must have a robust medication reconciliation process in place in order to avoid potential adverse effects.
The medication reconciliation process is often defined in the following 5 steps:
1. Develop a list of current medicines.
2. Develop a list of medications to be prescribed.
3. Compare the medicines on the two lists.
4. Make clinical decisions based on the comparison.
5. Communicate the new list to appropriate caregivers and to the patient.
Many health systems utilize clinical pharmacists in the medicine reconciliation process, and there are numerous studies demonstrating improved outcomes when utilizing pharmacists versus other health care professionals. However, hiring a clinical pharmacist may not be feasible for some long term care facilities. Instead, facilities might look to engage their pharmacy providers.
Making the medication reconciliation process a priority in your facility and engaging your pharmacy provider can be an important step to improving the lives of patients and residents.