According to the Institute of Safe Medication Practices, approximately 7,000 deaths occur every year in the United States due to medication errors that could have been prevented. And medication errors are just as possible among the PACE population as in a standard healthcare setting.
The ultimate goal of PACE, including PACE pharmacy, is to provide members of the PACE population with high-quality care that keeps them independent and active, allowing them to remain in the home while receiving the services they need. An essential element of such services is medication reconciliation.
Medication Changes in the PACE Population
Older adults are often on multiple medications—and these medications are often stopped and new medications ordered, as medications are changed over time. Medication changes can cause confusion for members of the PACE population, for caregivers, and for participants’ family members.
Lack of communication between PACE participants and healthcare providers during care transitions contributes significantly to medication safety errors. That’s why it’s vitally important for PACE pharmacy providers and other members of the multidisciplinary team to thoroughly review these changes with participants and their caregivers, ensuring they understand what is happening and why.
Reconciling Medications in the PACE Population
With an increased number of medications—which are often prescribed by multiple physicians, including specialists—comes an increased number of potential problems. Side effects, possible duplicate therapies, and the possibility of drug interactions are just some of the serious issues that can arise.
Clinical consults play an important role in ensuring safety among the PACE population. These consults, in which a geriatric-specialized pharmacist reviews participant medications on a regular basis, include a number of safety checks, including:
- PACE medication regimen reviews
- Reviews following a clinical change of status or emergency room visit
- Elimination of duplicate medications
- Identification of potential drug-drug interactions
Clinical consults serve a dual purpose: They help promote positive outcomes for members of the PACE population, while helping PACE centers contain costs and make efficient decisions.
Coordination of Care in the PACE Population
Communication and participant/caregiver engagement are essential to ensure all parties are working from the same plan. PACE pharmacy services work along with all members of the participant’s multidisciplinary medical team to ensure continuity of care.
This integrated model of care aims to improve the quality of life of participants within the PACE population with chronic care needs by providing necessary medical and pharmacy services, including medication reconciliation.
Medication reconciliation, part of the clinical consult, carefully reviews a participant’s medication regimen, lowering the risk of preventable medication errors and potential hospitalization.
Literacy Education and Labeling Options for the PACE Population
Health literacy education is designed to ensure each participant understands his or her therapies—taking into consideration hearing, vision, or physical impairments; language barriers; and/or the ability to understand written text.
Optimal, effective medication management for the PACE population utilizes both written and visual tools, along with health literacy information, to help participants and their family members understand their medication regimens.
Grane Rx partners with PACE centers to provide participants with medications that are delivered directly to the home in easy-to-understand packaging that includes clear directions on when medications should be taken. The packaging also includes both visual and written cues on what medications are for, as well as how they should be taken.
These tools, in combination with medication reconciliation, help limit the risk of avoidable drug errors and other potential problems.
Want to learn more about the impact Grane Rx can have on your PACE center and your services to the PACE population? Start the conversation by calling (412) 449-0504 or emailing email@example.com.
Jennifer Devinney is the Chief Clinical Officer for Grane Rx. In this role, she works with clinical pharmacists and nurses in conjunction with facility staff to develop and oversee clinical initiatives. Additionally, she is the clinical EHR integration specialist.