Aims To investigate how seamless pharmaceutical care could be delivered.
Methods Elderly patients discharged from hospital, to their own home, were randomized into control and study groups. Control and study group patients received the normal discharge information. The study group were also counselled about their medicines and informed about their pharmaceutical care plan. Copies of the plan were given to the study patients. All patients received a domiciliary visit between 7 and 10 days after discharge. Their current medication was compared with that on discharge and contact was made with the General Practitioner as appropriate.
Results Twenty-eight study and 25 control patients with a mean (s.d.) age of 77.5 (7.3) and 77.6 (6.1) years completed the study. A pharmaceutical domiciliary visit was necessary for 21 (75%) and 24 (96%) of the study and control patients respectively. Compliance was better (P<0.01) in the study group. Unintentional changes to the medication of 31 (14 study and 17 control) patients were found during the visit and after contact with the prescriber all but one prescription was restored to that on discharge.
Conclusions At present it is difficult to ensure seamless pharmaceutical care. A pharmaceutical domiciliary visit may be useful to ensure seamless therapeutic care and thus avoid unnecessary healthcare events and costs after a patient is discharged home.