A Prospective 12-Month Study of Prescriptions in Long-Term Care Nursing Facility Residents
AIM: The most frequent use of medications in the geriatric population occurs in skilled nursing facilities. This quality assurance study prospectively examines the high number of prescriptions ordered for long-term nursing facility residents throughout their first year after admission. METHODS: The investigators prospectively followed 101 consecutive long-term-stay older adult residents at the Joyce Eisenberg Keefer Medical Center, a nursing facility of Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging (LAJH) over a 12-month period. Preadmission prescriptions were obtained for 91 residents, as well as prescriptions at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year after admission. The number of prescriptions by staff physicians and outside physicians was examined. RESULTS: Over the 12 months following admission, the mean number of scheduled prescriptions increased significantly from 11.1 prior to admission to 13.0 by 6 months and to 13.3 by 12 months (P-value < 0.05). The residents who were hospitalized during the 12 months of observation received significantly more scheduled, as needed, and total prescriptions than those not hospitalized. Physicians employed full time by LAJH ordered significantly fewer additional prescriptions than physicians with outside practices. The patients of the staff physicians also had fewer hospitalizations than those of the outside physicians. CONCLUSION: This quality assurance study reveals a statistically significant increase in the number of prescriptions made in a long-term care setting over a 12-month prospective study. Patients of staff physicians received fewer prescriptions and were hospitalized less frequently than patients of physicians who practiced outside LAJH.
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