Tool Predicts Risk Of Medication-Related Harm In Older People After Leaving Hospital

PillsA new tool has been developed to assess the likelihood of an older adult who is discharged from hospital suffering from medication-related harm (MRH). Specifically it predicts MRH requiring additional NHS care.

Recent studies have shown that more than a third of older patients experience MRH following hospital discharge. Apart from causing harm to patients and significant distress to their families and carers, such MRH is associated with at a significant cost to the NHS estimated at £396 million annually.

Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), working in collaboration with King’s College London, have developed a new tool to assess the likelihood of an older adult suffering from MRH at the point of hospital discharge. The PRIME tool includes eight routinely collected pieces of information relating to patients: age, gender, number of medicines taken, taking antiplatelet and diabetes medications, sodium level, previous adverse drug reaction, and living alone. Including these eight determinants in a mathematical formula/tool provided predictive information on whether an individual patient is likely to suffer MRH in the eight weeks period after leaving hospital.

Professor Chakravarthi Rajkumar, Chair of Geriatrics and Stroke Medicine at BSMS, and academic lead of the study said: “In our ageing population, the use of multiple medications is common. All too often patients can suffer harm from their medicines, rather than benefit from them. By identifying those most at risk of MRH, the PRIME tool can help general practitioners, pharmacists and allied health professionals to implement interventions to help minimise the risk of such harm.”

The study involved more than 1,200 patients from five hospitals in the south of England. Of these, approximately one in six patients suffered MRH from adverse drug reactions.

The study was published in BMJ Quality & Safety. You can read it here: https://qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/early/2019/09/16/bmjqs-2019-009587