A recently published research study funded via the Resthaven Incorporated Dementia Research Award through Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation links polypharmacy with hospitalisation.
The study, ‘Polypharmacy and Medication Regimen Complexity as Risk Factors for Hospitalisation Among Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities’, was conducted by a multidisciplinary team including Associate Professor Simon Bell, Dr Janet Sluggett and Samantha Lalic from Monash University’s Centre for Medicine Use and Safety and Tina Cooper (formerly Emery), Executive Manager Residential Services, and Leonie Robson, Senior Manager Clinical Services from Resthaven.
‘Nobody likes to go to hospital,’ says Tina. ‘Being admitted to hospital is not a good outcome for anyone, and it costs government health systems millions of dollars a year.’
‘The research was conducted across six Resthaven residential services. It set out to investigate whether there was an association between taking nine or more regular medications and admission to hospital. It investigated residents’ time to first hospitalisation, the number of hospitalisations, and the number of days spent in hospital over a 12-month period.’
‘Even after considering confounding factors such as residents’ age and medical diagnoses, residents who took nine or more medications had an 89% higher risk of hospitalisation than those who took less than nine medications. This research has important implications for aged care and hospitals alike.’
‘The research adds to the increasing body of evidence that suggests reducing the number of unnecessary or low-benefit medications, referred to as ‘deprescribing’, may be a valuable way to reduce unwanted, expensive hospital stays.’
‘Previous research indicates that adverse drug events are a leading cause of preventable hospital admissions among older Australians.’
‘We have always advocated for frequent medication reviews, but this takes it to the next level. We now need to look at risk-benefit ratios for prescribing of long-term preventative medications in aged care’.
For details about the project, contact Tina Cooper, Resthaven Executive Manager, Residential Services, on (08) 8373 9079.