To identify inappropriate prescribing among older patients on admission to and discharge from an intermediate-care nursing home unit and hospital wards, and to compare changes during stay within and between these groups.
Setting and subjects
Altogether 400 community-dwelling people aged ≥70 years, on consecutive emergency admittance to hospital wards of internal medicine and orthopaedic surgery, were randomized to an intermediate-care nursing home unit or hospital wards; 290 (157 at the intermediate-care nursing home unit and 133 in hospital wards) were eligible for this sub-study.
Main outcome measures
Prevalence on admission and discharge of potentially inappropriate medications (Norwegian general practice [NORGEP] criteria) and drug–drug interactions; changes during stay.
The mean (SD) age was 84.7 (6.2) years; 71% were women. From admission to discharge, the mean numbers of drugs prescribed per person increased from 6.0 (3.3) to 9.3 (3.8), p <0.01. The prevalence of potentially inappropriate medications increased from 24% to 35%, p <0.01; concomitant use of ≥3 psychotropic/opioid drugs and drug combinations including non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increased significantly. Serious drug–drug interactions were scarce both on admission and discharge (0.7%).
Inappropriate prescribing was prevalent among older people acutely admitted to hospital, and the prevalence was not reduced during stay at an intermediate-care nursing home unit specially designed for these patients.
Key Words: Acute illness, drug–drug interactions, elderly, general practice, hospital, intermediate care unit, NORGEP screening tool, Norway, potentially inappropriate medications