Increase patient safety through medication management

August 29, 2022
Categories: Home health, Hospice, Palliative care
Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s known that preventable errors in medication management impact more than 7 million patients, costing almost $21 billion annually across all care settings. Home health and hospice, in particular, are significantly impacted by unplanned hospital readmissions. 16% of unplanned hospital readmissions within 30 days are medication related—and are mostly preventable.

Why is medication management in home health important?

Medication management includes monitoring and reconciling medications and ensuring patients get the desired outcome of said medication. It requires a thorough review of both prescribed and non-prescribed drugs—including over-the-counter pain relievers, herbal supplements, and vitamins—to help prevent potential interactions, consider possible side effects, and discuss their purpose and effectiveness.

Once all of this has been well thought out, a medication schedule and plan should be created to monitor outcomes, safety, and efficiency. Patients and family caregivers need to understand exactly how and when to take the drugs and be proactive in their schedule. They should be empowered to question if medications look incorrect and to advocate for their own safety.

What are the safety risks that come with medication in the home?

To increase patient safety, you must first have a thorough understanding of the risks. These can include:

  • Using multiple pharmacies that fail to communicate with each other
  • Lacking financial means to obtain medication and sustain prescribed dose
  • Failing to educate patients and families on their medications (bottles, size, instructions, etc.)
  • Inability to cut pills or not having the mobility to reach medications
  • Complicated discharge instructions or literacy concerns
  • Missing support in the home due to distant families or clinician burnout
  • Errors made due to working in a high-stress environment

How can we improve medication management in home health?

Now that we’ve identified the risks that come with medication in the home, we can explore what we can do to help and improve safety.

Engage with community pharmacies

Involving the pharmacy and pharmacists in home care and making them a part of the whole care team is a key component to keeping our aging population at home.

Collaborate with case managers

Case managers and discharge planners must go beyond asking who helps patients at home. They need to appropriately screen and make sure they’re going to a safe environment by asking specific questions about family caregivers, what they’re capable of, and whether they’re up for the task.

Educate, educate, educate

Be sure to educate the patients, caregivers, and medical professionals to ensure the entire care team is on the same page. Involving providers and facilities in care conversations early on makes everyone aware of medication changes and anything else that can affect patient outcomes.

Don’t underestimate pill planners

Medication bundles, pill packaging, machine dosing—this approach to drugs allows patients and their families to get daily packets, ensuring doses are taken on time and in the correct amount, which helps to eliminate medication errors.

Innovating medication management for home health

From electronic medication reconciliation to Surescripts imports, MatrixCare provides innovative solutions to the medication challenges facing home health. Drug education within the EHR is easy to understand, available in English and Spanish, and can be care-plan specific. Integrations allow for automated reminders, bi-directional messaging with care teams, and so much more—all to mitigate risk while patients are independent in the home.

Is your organization ready to increase patient safety? Are you ready to learn how our innovative medication management solutions can help decrease risk and increase positive outcomes?

Schedule a demo today.

Kathleen Courson
Kathleen Courson

Kathleen Courson, RN, BSN (Katie) has been a registered nurse for 24 years with 18 of that spent in home health and hospice. She has worked in all realms of the industry, from field nurse to administration, including being involved in a start-up of an independent Medicare Certified Home Health agency in her rural community. Katie is the Clinical Product Manager for the Home Health and Hospice Division of MatrixCare. She was previously on the MatrixCare Professional Services team as a Clinical Implementation Consultant. Prior to joining the MatrixCare Team, she was an active member of NAHC and the Pennsylvania Homecare Association, participating in the education committees for both organizations. She has held certifications in both OASIS and ICD-10 and provided remote coding/OASIS review services and instructions. Katie resides in rural NWPA with her husband of 24 year and they have 3 young adult daughters.

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