Throughout our lives, most of us have been prescribed numerous medications from our healthcare providers. Some of those medications are used to treat an acute, or self-limiting, illness or issue. Others are aimed to control and treat long-term conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. However, there comes a time when we, as providers and consumers of healthcare, must make informed decisions about which medications should be used at certain times of our lives. This is when the process of deprescribing is employed. Deprescribing is the systematic process of identifying and discontinuing medications when existing or potential harms outweigh existing or potential benefits.
This process should be performed within the context of the patient’s care goals. Other factors that should be considered include the current level of functioning, life expectancy, values and preferences. The ultimate goal is to reduce polypharmacy and medication burden, all while improving patient outcomes. The process is designed to be proactive, thus preventing an adverse medication event or adverse patient outcome before it occurs.
Understanding Deprescribing in Transitions of Care
Deprescribing can occur at any encounter with a healthcare provider; however, transitions of care are some of the most important times to do a thorough medication assessment, such as a hospital discharge or a hospice admission. There are several patient characteristics to consider that should also trigger a medication review.[Read more…]