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BMJ. 1992 September 19; 305(6855): 694–696.
PMCID: PMC1882955

Changes in drug treatment after discharge from hospital in geriatric patients.


OBJECTIVES--To ascertain changes in drug treatment of elderly patients after discharge from hospital and to identify areas of communication which may require improvement. DESIGN--Follow up of patients six to 14 days after discharge, when the drugs supplied by the hospital should have run out and a further supply obtained from the general practitioner. Patients were also asked about information supplied to them by health care professionals during their hospital stay. SUBJECTS--50 elderly patients discharged from five geriatric wards (mean age 76.9 years). SETTING--Sunderland District Health Authority. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Drugs taken after discharge from hospital. RESULTS--After returning home the drug regimen of 45 patients differed from that prescribed on discharge from hospital, with 11 patients taking a different dose, 10 having stopped drugs, and 20 taking new drugs. Possible influencing factors included an incomplete drug history, the continuation of drugs taken before hospital admission, and changes in the prescription not attributable to a conscious clinical decision. Lack of information also contributed; 46 patients could not recall being told when to take drugs before discharge. CONCLUSION--Closer communication is needed between hospital and community health care professionals to ensure that patients are informed about their discharge prescription and continuation of treatment.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Davidson JR. Trail of self-medication in the elderly. Nurs Times. 1974 Mar 14;70(11):391–392. [PubMed]
  • Hatch AM, Tapley A. A self-administration system for elderly patients at Highbury Hospital. Nurs Times. 1982 Oct 20;78(42):1773–1774. [PubMed]
  • Caranasos GJ, Stewart RB, Cluff LE. Drug-induced illness leading to hospitalization. JAMA. 1974 May 6;228(6):713–717. [PubMed]
  • Parkin DM, Henney CR, Quirk J, Crooks J. Deviation from prescribed drug treatment after discharge from hospital. Br Med J. 1976 Sep 18;2(6037):686–688. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • MacDonald ET, MacDonald JB, Phoenix M. Improving drug compliance after hospital discharge. Br Med J. 1977 Sep 3;2(6087):618–621. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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