Optimisation of medications used in residential aged care facilities: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

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BACKGROUND: Frail older adults living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) usually experience comorbidities and are frequently prescribed multiple medications. This increases the potential risk of inappropriate prescribing and its negative consequences. Thus, optimising prescribed medications in RACFs is a challenge for healthcare providers. OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to systematically review interventions that increase the appropriateness of medications used in RACFs and the outcomes of these interventions. METHODS: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials (RCTs) and cluster randomised control trials (cRCTs) were performed by searching specified databases (MEDLINE, PubMed, Google scholar, PsycINFO) for publications from inception to May 2019 based on defined inclusion criteria. Data were extracted, study quality was assessed and statistically analysed using RevMan v5.3. Medication appropriateness, hospital admissions, mortality, falls, quality of life (QoL), Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD), adverse drug events (ADEs) and cognitive function could be meta-analysed. RESULTS: A total of 25 RCTs and cRCTs comprising 19,576 participants met the inclusion criteria. The studies tested various interventions including medication review (n = 13), staff education (n = 9), multi-disciplinary case conferencing (n = 4) and computerised clinical decision support systems (n = 2). There was an effect of interventions on medication appropriateness (RR 0.71; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.60,0.84) (10 studies), and on medication appropriateness scales (standardised mean difference = - 0.67; 95% CI: - 0.97, - 0.36) (2 studies). There were no apparent effects on hospital admission (RR 1.00; 95% CI: 0.93, 1.06), mortality (RR 0.98; 95% CI: 0.86, 1.11), falls (RR 1.06; 95% CI: 0.89,1.26), ADEs (RR 1.04; 95% CI: 0.96,1.13), QoL (standardised mean difference = 0.16; 95% CI:-0.13, 0.45), cognitive function (weighted mean difference = 0.69; 95% CI: - 1.25, 2.64) and BPSD (RR 0.68; 95% CI: 0.44,1.06) (2 studies). CONCLUSION: Modest improvements in medication appropriateness were observed in the studies included in this systematic review. However, the effect on clinical measures was limited to drive strong conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number236
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2020


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