Studies in health care systems around the world have shown that long-term care residents may be susceptible to medication errors, known as adverse drug events (ADEs). These errors most commonly occur when a patient is moved from one level of care to another, transferred to a new facility or referred to a new physician, resulting in gaps in communication about their medication. In all instances, ADEs can be serious, life-threatening and even fatal.
Medication reconciliation helps prevent ADEs by engaging care providers with patients and their families at every stage of patient transition, ensuring all the necessary information is collected to prevent an adverse drug event.
What are we measuring?
Island Health Success
Residential care and pharmacy staff collaborated to introduce routine medication reconciliation practices at every Island Health-operated residential care facility. Nursing and pharmacy staff work together to interview patients and their families, review current prescriptions and assess whether the patient’s medication needs are being met. This process now takes place at every point of patient transition and helps to bring attention to unnecessary drugs, inappropriate dosages or the need for a new prescription.
Island Health has set a target of 90% compliance with medication reconciliation protocols. Recent data show that staff are exceeding the target, with medication reconciliation done for 95% of residential care admissions, readmissions and transfers.
Learn More from the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council.
Medication Reconciliation Backgrounder (PDF)