A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society underscores the very real problem of the negative effect of adverse drug events (ADEs) in the older adult population. The study’s authors, A. Kanaan, J. Donnovan…. and J. Gurwitz, et al, are very clear on the incidence, type and preventability of ADEs within 45 days after discharge from hospitalization, further accentuating the concern with care transitions and the related incidence of ADEs in the older adult population.
Summary findings are: At least one ADE was identified during the 45-day period in 18.7% of the 1000 discharges, 35% were deemed preventable, 32% were deemed serious and 5% as life-threatening. Of interest is that more than half occurred withing the first 14 days after hospitalization, further supporting the need to pay particular attention to medication management during care transitions.
Their conclusion was that “ADEs are common and often preventable in older adults after hospital discharge, underscoring the need to address medication safety during this high-risk period in this vulnerable population.”
Commentary: The above will occur when there is proper alignment of incentives of a adequate remuneration; comprehensive teaching to all health care professionals of the required knowledge base; the incorporation of technology to enhance effectiveness of this knowledge base; and the re-engineering of workflow that allows for the attention needed to address this problem area on a consistent basis. Below is the link to the article in Medscape.