Potentially inappropriate prescribing in healthcare of the elderly (HCE) is associated with avoidable adverse drug events (ADEs).[1,2] A recent set of prescribing criteria has been designed and validated, called “Screening Tool of Older Persons’ Prescriptions” (STOPP), to rationalise prescribing in hospitalised patients on HCE wards.[1,3] The aim of this quality improvement project was to identify how many potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) were prescribed on these wards, and remove them. This was executed by implementing a ward round checklist, which incorporated STOPP criteria, for the twice weekly, consultant led ward rounds.
This quality improvement project was carried out over four months. In a pilot study, we identified eight inappropriate medical prescriptions among 148 medications (5.4%) prescribed on one ward. After applying a checklist for a structured ward round, we reviewed the medications prescribed on that ward, and found 10 PIMs out of 192 (5.2%). Utilising the increasingly recognised “plan, do, study, act” (PDSA) cycle, we implemented departmental teaching and meetings with other members of the multidisciplinary team, which raised awareness of PIMs among junior doctors, as well as involving our pharmacists in drug chart screening. During this process we continued with a further six cycles on a biweekly basis, and saw a gradual decrease in PIM to 1.5%.
In conclusion, a structured ward round, facilitated by a checklist that included review of drug charts based on STOPP criteria, demonstrated a considerable reduction of PIMs. It would be interesting to apply this quality improvement project to non-HCE wards, including general surgical wards or adult psychiatry wards, as a means of not only reducing the effects of ADEs, but also the expenditure associated with unnecessary drug prescriptions, and the costs associated with additional care arising from associated ADEs.
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