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What is the matter with crushing pills and opening capsules?

Authors

  • Øyvind Kirkevold RN MPH PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior Researcher, Norwegian Centre for Dementia Research, Vestfold Mental Health Trust, Tønsberg, Norway, and Associate Professor, Faculty of Health and Sport, University of Adger, Kristiansand, Norway
      Øyvind Kirkevold, Postbox 2136 Tønsberg, Norway 3103. Email: oyvind.kirkevold@aldringoghelse.no
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  • Knut Engedal MD PhD

    1. Professor in Old Age Psychiatry, Aging and Health, Ullevål University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
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Øyvind Kirkevold, Postbox 2136 Tønsberg, Norway 3103. Email: oyvind.kirkevold@aldringoghelse.no

Abstract

Kirkevold Ø, Engedal K. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2010; 16: 81–85
What is the matter with crushing pills and opening capsules?

This study aims to map out to what degree medication is being crushed and mixed into the patients' food and beverages and how often this practice included medication, which has a statement in the Norwegian pharmaceutical compendium that this should not be done (inappropriately altered medication (IAM)). Data from a total of 2108 patients in 151 wards in 65 nursing homes were collected. The data contained information about the kind of drugs the patient received, in which form it was given and how it was given. Patient characteristics and ward characteristics were also recorded. Twenty-three per cent were given at least one drug mixed into their food or beverages and 10% were given at least one IAM. This study shows a malpractice regarding one aspect of medication in nursing homes. Even though we need more knowledge, we know enough to take action to raise the quality of the administration of medicines in nursing homes.

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