Transitional Care Across the Continuum: Empowering the Older Adult to Change through Medication Reconciliation Self Management

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kathy Wright, MSN
Transitional Care and Chronic Illness Management, Summa Health System, Akron, OH

Learning Objective 1: identify tools to assist older adults with regards to medication reconciliation self management.

Learning Objective 2: describe barriers between the older adult and health care provider with regards to medication reconciliation.

Due to chronic illness and functional decline, older adults are often faced with multiple encounters with the healthcare system.  Navigation of this complex system during each transition can be overwhelming. With each encounter, the older adult is expected to understand diagnoses, treatment plans and medications (Coleman, Smith, Frank, Sung-Joon, Parry, & Kramer, 2004).  The risk of error, especially with regards to medication reconciliation, increases with each encounter. Research is needed to improve self medication reconciliation. The purpose of this pilot study is to test the effectiveness of an educational intervention to teach older adults how to create a medication record to support medication reconciliation as they navigate through the healthcare system. Participants 65 and older were recruited from two outpatient clinics over 6 months (N=17). Baseline data was collected on medication practices and a health literacy screen. Participants were educated on the safe use of medication, assisted to complete a medication list and provided with a medication bag. Participants were instructed to bring bag of medications and list to all health appointments. Follow-up calls were made 7-10 days, 2 months, 4 months and 6 months to provide education. At the end of 6 months, data will be collected on the use of the medication bag and list. The patient’s health care provider will also be surveyed on the effectiveness of these tools to aid in medication reconciliation.  Data analysis will be completed December, 2009. Results from this pilot study will be utilized to develop a transitional care tool kit for patients in preparation to discharge home from acute care. Providing older adults with tools to organize medications could encourage active participation in medication reconciliation with their healthcare provider.