Client experience with reviewing medications

How clients rated if their medications were reviewed by professional home care staff. (see data dictionary)

What do you think?

  • Why is it important to conduct a periodic review of a client’s medication?
  • How might this information be used to inform Continuing Care Health Service Standards 1.0 Standardized Assessment, 9.0 Staff Training, 12.0 Medication Management, and/or related sub-standards?
  • Are there differences between zones? Between mainly rural and urban zones? What factors could account for these differences?

Whether you’re a client, family member, provider, or health system administrator, thinking about why these differences might exist can start or inform conversations and lead to solutions for improved quality of healthcare.

Understanding “experience with reviewing medications”

In a survey conducted from October 2018 to March 2019, the HQCA asked clients receiving home care:

In the last year, professional home care staff reviewed all of my medications….

Clients could choose “Yes / Partly / No”

Effective medication management is patient-centred care that optimizes safe, effective and appropriate drug therapy. A medication review is part of effective medication management and provides an important opportunity to assess a client’s complete medication list. The medication review process includes providing direction on how to take medications, possible side effects, and/or the use of multiple medications. The medication review process helps ensure safe and effective medication therapy for clients.

Considerations when viewing the results:

This data reflects the experiences of seniors aged 65+ receiving long term supportive and maintenance care and are among the largest groups of home care clients.

There are a number of factors providers and leaders can consider to better understand and improve client experiences with reviewing medications. Some questions they could ask before taking action include:

  • What is the process and timing for reviewing home care client medications? Is the process and timing adequate for identifying medication risks or problems for the client? When should a review be conducted? How do processes and policies around medication management vary across zones?
  • How is a medication review captured in the care planning process?
  • How is the client involved in the review? If clients indicate they don’t know if their medications were reviewed, what does this indicate about client engagement in the process?
  • How can actions taken by other healthcare providers (e.g., primary care, pharmacists, acute care) impact medication management for professional home care staff? How can providers from other areas of the healthcare system work together with home care staff to ensure co-ordinated medication management?
  • What are some of the challenges to effective medication management for home care clients? For professional home care staff? For case managers? How might these challenges be addressed?

For information about the HQCA’s Alberta Seniors Home Care Client Survey, please visit the HQCA website.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta uses the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health as a way of organizing information and thinking around the complexity of the healthcare system. This measure can be used as input to assess home care’s performance in these dimensions of quality:
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Dimensions of Quality

  • Acceptability 
  • Accessibility 
  • Appropriateness 
  • Effectiveness 
  • Efficiency 
  • Safety