AIM: To explore the capability of the Safe Medication Assessment (SMA) tool in identifying factors highly related to unsafe medication management among elderly patients and to investigate the district nurses' (DNs) opinions of the SMA's usefulness as a tool in their daily primary healthcare practice. Introduction: Elderly patients who experience many medical conditions often use multiple drugs. As well as the combined decline in physical and cognitive functions, the elderly are at high risk for medication-related problems. It is essential to develop a screening procedure to distinguish elderly at risk of an unsafe medication management.
METHODS: An explorative study. During a 3-6-month period, 25 voluntary DNs used SMA with 160 patients (consecutively chosen and meeting four specified criteria) in their daily practice. Furthermore, DNs responded to questions regarding SMA's usefulness.
RESULTS: The result showed that SMA had the capability to identify factors highly related to unsafe medication management among the elderly included in the study. In 64% of assessments DNs identified areas of new information and in 23% of the assessments DNs intervened. They found SMA to be satisfactory regarding its level of simplicity, relevance, completeness, intelligibility, and time for implementation.
CONCLUSIONS: SMA alerted the DNs to patients' attitudes about medication and empowered them in identifying elderly patients who had unsafe medication management. SMA was also perceived as a useful assessment tool by the DNs.
2011. Vol. 39, no 4, 354-360 p.