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Tool shows promise for assisting shared approach to medication management


A computerised tool can help aged care staff record residents’ medication management preferences to inform clinical and deprescribing decisions, a University of Sydney study finds.

The study published in the Australasian Journal on Ageing investigated the views of staff using a computerised clinical decision support system (CCDSS) that incorporates goal‐directed deprescribing tools and guides to identify residents’ goals for medications.

It involved four residential aged care facilities and 19 clinical and care staff including registered nurses, managers, nursing assistants, nurse practitioners and a clinical educator.

Lead researcher Dr Mouna Sawan said they found that facilities required a systematic and multidisciplinary approach to identifying, documenting and sharing residents’ medication goals and preferences.

“Residential aged care facility staff noted that a CCDSS can be integrated in the medication management care plan at the time of admission to document resident medication goals that be accessible to all facility staff and other members of the health care team,” Dr Sawan told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“This information can be used by pharmacists or general practitioners to guide the management of medications for people with and without dementia, for example to help identify medicines that can be withdrawn, said Dr Sawan, a research associate at the University of Sydney’s Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre.

Staff also reported using a CCDSS improves communication and teamwork between staff and other health care professionals, she said.

Dr Sawan said the study aimed to address the increasing recognition that medications should be deprescribed where the risk outweighed the benefit for older adults.

“To arrive at a shared decision on deprescribing it is important to establish goals and preferences with residents and their representatives,” she said.

“Medication goals for residents can include optimising the quality of life by reducing adverse drug reactions, alleviating symptoms, or simply wanting to take less pills so they don’t ‘rattle when they walk’.”

This CCDSS in this study is called G‐MEDSS, which stands for Goal‐directed Medication review Electronic Decision Support System. The development of G-MEDSS was led by Dr Lisa Kouladjian O’Donnell and Professor Sarah Hilmer from the University of Sydney.

Residential aged care organisations interested in participating in future related projects can contact the team at ncs.researchdbi@sydney.edu.au

Access the study here.

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