Nursing home patient's own physician plus pharmacist ups care

June 23, 2013 at 5:08 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS, June 23 (UPI) -- A team involving nursing home patient's own physician plus a pharmacist can substantially improve the quality of nursing home care, U.S. researchers say.

"Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services -- part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services -- mandates an interdisciplinary approach to nursing home care, so all U.S. nursing homes have teams, but the composition and activity of these teams vary," Dr. Arif Nazir of Indiana University Center for Aging Research center scientist and the IU School of Medicine said in a statement.

"We found that having the doctor who actually cares for the nursing home patient involved on the care team has a positive impact on patient outcome, as did including a pharmacist on the team."

Interdisciplinary teams that took this approach had a higher success rates in decreasing falls, improving behavioral issues and prescribing less anti-psychotic medications, Nazir said.

"When considering a nursing home placement for a loved one, Nazir suggests family members ask facilities specifics about the care team. He suggests asking, "How regularly is a resident's own physician involved?" and "Does a pharmacist routinely attend care planning meetings?"

The study is scheduled to be published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.

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