Elderly people are particularly exposed to the side effects of drugs. Among the various strategies for reducing polypharmacy, educational approaches have shown promising results.
Among 519 nursing homes using a pill system, the daily number of times a medication was administered to each resident over a 4-year period was recorded. The intervention group included 113 nursing homes belonging to the same entity, who set up a booklet given to doctors and pharmacists and specially designed to make prescribing easier for the elderly. The remaining 406 nursing homes, for which no booklet was introduced, constituted the control group.
The data was collected via a system of pillboxes for data recording. The effect of the intervention on drug consumption was evaluated and adjusted according to the status of the nursing home.
The main results were the average number of drugs administered per day and the number of different drugs (with different presentation identification codes) per resident and per month.
The results of this study show that 96,216 residents of 519 nursing homes were included between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2014. Both the intervention group and the control group decreased their average daily medication consumption. The booklet did not have a statistically significant effect.
This analysis provided no evidence that this reduction was related to the use of the booklet. However, factors such as national policy or increased awareness among doctors may have contributed to this observation.