• nursing homes;
  • psychoactive medication;
  • pharmaceutical care;
  • cluster randomized controlled trial;
  • cost-effectiveness

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of an adapted U.S. model of pharmaceutical care to improve psychoactive prescribing for nursing home residents in Northern Ireland (Fleetwood NI Study).

DESIGN: Economic evaluation alongside a cluster randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: Nursing homes in NI randomized to intervention (receipt of the adapted model of care; n=11) or control (usual care continued; n=11).

PARTICIPANTS: Residents aged 65 and older who provided informed consent (N=253; 128 intervention, 125 control) and who had full resource use data at 12 months.

INTERVENTION: Trained pharmacists reviewed intervention home residents' clinical and prescribing information for 12 months, applied an algorithm that guided them in assessing the appropriateness of psychoactive medication, and worked with prescribers (general practitioners) to make changes. The control homes received usual care in which there was no pharmacist intervention.

MEASUREMENTS: The proportion of residents prescribed one or more inappropriate psychoactive medications (according to standardized protocols), costs, and a cost-effectiveness acceptability curve. The latter two outcomes are the focus for this article.

RESULTS: The proportions of residents receiving inappropriate psychoactive medication at 12 months in the intervention and control group were 19.5% and 50.4%, respectively. The mean cost of healthcare resources used per resident per year was $4,923 (95% confidence interval (CI)=$4,206–5,640) for the intervention group and $5,053 (95% CI=$4,328–5,779) for the control group. The probability of the intervention being cost-effective was high, even at low levels of willingness to pay to avoid a resident receiving inappropriately prescribed psychoactive medication.

CONCLUSION: The Fleetwood NI model of care was more cost-effective than usual care.