Colorado Grant Project Says Optimizing Medication Usage Packs a Punch

August 31, 2015
Laura Beck, The Eden Alternative

hands2The conversation about rethinking medication use is getting more interesting. While important strides are being made to reduce antipsychotic use, the issue is actually only one piece in a puzzle that has even larger impact. A recent Colorado grant project featured an 8-month hands-on, learning experience focused on streamlining overall medication-related practices and systems. The CMP-funded project proved a successful launch for Optimizing Medication Systems and Usage, the first new Wellspring module created by The Eden Alternative. Back in 2012, The Eden Alternative took ownership of the Wellspring brand, with the goal of weaving person-directed approaches a la Eden into clinical practices.

The Colorado project involved the participation of six nursing homes and resulted in a 5-10% reduction in the average number of scheduled medications and PRN medications per Elder per day. Medication error rate and the number of Elders receiving psychotropics, anti-depressants, anticonvulsants, and anxiolytics were also reduced by roughly 5-10%. To achieve this success, involved homes identified an interdisciplinary team for participation in a webinar-based learning collaborative. The collaborative format combined online sessions featuring expert clinical faculty and hands-on application of specific techniques between sessions. Each team tracked its progress by monitoring specific clinical indicators over time within a designated sample group of Elders and employees.

Participants claim that their efforts have paid off. Sherri Hipp, DON at Denver’s Brookshire House shares that they eliminated the 10pm to 6am medication pass, allowing residents to get a better quality of sleep. She also adds, “The medical director has been a champion for our nursing cause and has given us his support and commitment to educate providers about this. This project has opened doors that we didn’t even know existed!”

Brookshire’s Jeffrey Michael, LPN also points out, “I enjoy working in this community with the ‘new mindset’ because it really allows me to practice the art of nursing. Since I am not tied to a medication cart the entire shift, I am able to interact with residents, family, and staff members.”

What efforts is your organization making to optimize medication systems? What conversations are you having about the overall reduction of medication use, alternative approaches to medications, and the revamping of med pass practices that impact the role and presence of medication use in daily life? Engage Elders, family members, and other stakeholders in a dialogue about how you can begin making changes today.

Starting mid-September, The Eden Alternative is offering organizations an opportunity to experience participation in Optimizing Medication Systems and Usage. Learn more about how you can be a part of it.

1 Comment. Leave new

When we started this project, we knew intuitively that it should work, but when you see that actual results and the impact, it feels great. Kudos to the teams involved, the Eden staff who pulled it all together, and the distinguished faculty who shared their incredible knowledge. Thanks to all of you!!!!

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