Reconciliation practices can cut injuries

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There are approximately 800,000 injuries per year in long-term care facilities due to medication reconciliation errors made during transitions of care, according to a new study.

Older adults with chronic conditions often get lost in the shuffle as they are shuttled between emergency departments, nursing homes, short-term rehabilitation facilities and their own homes, a study published in the Annals of Long-Term Care finds. Patients with low health literacy or cognitive decline are particularly susceptible to such errors.

The authors identified a series of best practices to help long-term care facilities manage medication discrepancies.
The first step, they write, is obtaining a list of medications a resident was on prior to a hospital or nursing home admission. This is particularly important if the patient is taking more than one medication from the same drug class.
This includes knowing if the patient was taking additional vitamins, herbal supplements or over-the-counter medications.

The authors also advise nurses to use a “teach-back” method when discharging a resident. This involves the resident repeating instructions back to the nurse to assess patient understanding.
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