A paper published in the European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy has concluded that ward-based hospital pharmacists may improve the appropriateness of medications, seamless care and drug safety for geriatric inpatients whilst being cost effective.
The authors at the University Hospital of Munich in Germany reviewed research from over twenty research studies conducted in seven European countries on pharmaceutical interventions in geriatric inpatients. They wanted to investigate the available evidence on the effect of pharmaceutical interventions on geriatric patients, their medications and healthcare costs in clinical settings across Europe.
Pharmacists can have a marked positive effect for geriatric inpatients
The review demonstrated that pharmacists can have a marked positive effect for geriatric inpatients, in particular regarding more appropriate use of medications, fewer medication errors and other drug-related outcomes like ADRs and the number of DRPs. All studies evaluating costs favoured the intervention. Intensified pharmaceutical care showed additional effects, even in countries with established pharmaceutical care in hospitals.
The authors conclude that pharmacists may improve the appropriateness of medications, seamless care and drug safety for geriatric inpatients while being cost-effective. More research is required to see if these results also apply in other countries with different healthcare settings and to determine the effect on hard outcomes such as quality of life, mortality, compliance and readmissions. More complex interventions like pharmaceutical care from admission to discharge is favourable as this kind of intervention can reduce medication errors at admission through medication history as well as improve the appropriateness of prescribing and might reduce drug-related readmissions through discharge management.
Kiesel E, Hopf Y. Hospital pharmacists working with geriatric patients in Europe: a systematic literature review. Eur J Hosp Pharm 2018;25:e74-e81.