Pharmacy interventions on prescribing in nursing homes: From evidence to practice

Carmel M. Hughes, Kate L. Lapane

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Prescribing of medicines for older people who live in nursing homes is a very common intervention. Undoubtedly, medicines have contributed to longevity and improved health outcomes in the population, but they are not without their side effects and can give rise to adverse events. The nursing home population is particularly at risk as residents have multiple comorbidities and receive multiple medications. Moreover, the quality of prescribing has been criticised with long-standing concerns about inappropriate prescribing, particularly overuse of medications which are not clinically indicated or which are no longer required. It has been suggested that pharmacists could use their skills to improve prescribing in the nursing home population and this review paper outlines the evidence for this type of intervention. The studies which have been included were rigorously designed and conducted. A number of interventions consisted of medication reviews, which often focused on specific drugs, notably antipsychotics, hypnotics and anxiolytics. In some cases, the pharmacist was solely responsible for the delivery of the intervention while in others a multidisciplinary approach was taken involving other key healthcare professionals. A number of outcome measures were employed to assess the impact of the intervention, ranging from a change in the number of inappropriate medications to differences in hospitalizations or health-related quality of life. Owing to the variation across studies, it is difficult to be definitive about the impact of pharmacy interventions in this setting. In an older, frail population such as nursing home residents, consideration needs to be given to appropriate and relevant outcome measures including a reduction in inappropriate prescribing, optimization of prescribing, reduced costs and improved health-related quality of life. Pharmacists and other healthcare professionals should continue to strive to meet these challenges in this particular demographic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Drug Safety
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • interventions
  • nursing homes
  • pharmacist
  • prescribing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Pharmacy interventions on prescribing in nursing homes: From evidence to practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this