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Impact of Geriatric Consultation on the Number of Medications in Hospitalized Older Patients

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OBJECTIVE: This study aims to determine the impact of the geriatric consultation on the number of medications in hospitalized older adults and the corresponding financial impact.

DESIGN: Retrospective chart review of patients seen by geriatric consultants.

SETTING: Tertiary-care teaching hospital.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The number of medications prescribed before hospitalization, at time of consult, and at discharge, and the number and category of medications adjusted by the geriatrician. The monthly cost of the pharmaceutical interventions was computed based on the cost of acquisition of drugs.

RESULTS: A cohort of 62 patients was reviewed with a mean age of 84.6 (± 7.3) years; 79% were women. The patients presented with an average of 5.6 (± 2.1) comorbidities of which hypertension, dementia, and musculoskeletal disorders were the most common. The most common reasons for geriatric consultations were neuropsychiatric, nutritional, and gait-related issues. The geriatric consultant identified 2.96 (± 1.5) additional diagnoses, of which debility, delirium, and pain were the most prevalent. The average number of medications on admission was 7.7 (± 3.7) and at discharge was 9.5 (± 2.12). The average number of medications adjusted by the geriatric consultant was 2.96 (± 2.12). The most common classes of adjusted medications were pain medications (22%), nutrition (13%), bowel regimens (8.5%), antipsychotics (8%), and osteoporosis (8%). The cost impact of the pharmaceutical intervention ranged between -$343 and $2,607, with an average increase of $102 (± 368).

CONCLUSION: Geriatric consultations increased the total number of medications and the cost of medications used by elderly patients.
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Keywords: Beers criteria; Drug cost; Geriatric consultation; Geriatric syndromes; Number of medications; Polypharmacy; Quality of life

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The Consultant Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Consultant Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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