Uncovering a multitude of sins: Medication management in the home post acute hospitalisation among the chronically ill

Simon Stewart, S. Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Sub-optimal use of prescribed medication is often associated with unplanned hospitalisation among the chronically ill. Aims: To examine the extent of sub-optimal use of prescribed medication in a 'high risk' patient cohort recently discharged from acute hospital care. Methods: Chronically ill patients discharged from acute hospital care (n=342) were studied. At one week post discharge a home visit was performed by a nurse and a pharmacist during which medication management (including compliance and medication-related knowledge) was assessed. Results: During the majority of home visits at least one medication-related problem was detected: approximately half of the cohort subject to a 'reliable' pill-count were found to be mal-compliant and almost all demonstrated inadequate medication- related knowledge. Mal-compliance was correlated with ≥ five prescribed medications (Odds ratio [OR] 2.6: p<0.002). Comparatively, lower medication- related knowledge was correlated with age >75 years (OR 2.2: p<0.001), exacerbation of a pre-existing chronic illness (OR 2.7: p=0.044) and ≤ six years formal education (OR 1.9: p=0.004). Neither were modulated by extent of in-hospital counselling. Other previously unknown problems detected during the home visit included hoarding of previously prescribed medication (35%) and reducing medication intake to minimise costs (21%). Conclusions: Management of preSCribed medications among chronically ill patients recently discharged from acute hospital care is often sub-optimal. Assessment of medication management in the home provides an invaluable opportunity to detect and address problems likely to result in poorer health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-227
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute hospital care
  • Chronically ill patients
  • Prescribed medications


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