3D: a tool for medication discharge education

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Abstract

Background:

At the time of transition from hospital to home, many patients are challenged by multi-drug regimens. The authors’ standard patient education tool is a personalised Medication Discharge Worksheet (MDW) that includes a list of medications and administration times. Nonetheless, patient understanding, satisfaction, and safety remain suboptimal. Therefore, the authors designed a new tool: Durable Display at Discharge (3D). Unlike MDW, 3D features (1) space in which a tablet or pill is to be affixed and displayed, (2) trade name (if apt), (3) unit strength, (4) number (and/or fraction) of units to be taken, (5) purpose (indication), (6) comment/caution, (7) larger font, (8) card stock durability and (9) a reconciliation feature.

Methods:

The authors conducted an exploratory, randomised trial (n = 138) to determine whether 3D, relative to MDW, improves patient satisfaction, improves patient understanding and reduces self-reported medication errors. Trained survey research personnel, blinded to hypotheses, interviewed patients by telephone 7–14 days after discharge.

Results:

Both tools were similarly associated with high satisfaction and few self-reported errors. However, 3D subjects demonstrated greater understanding of their medications.

Conclusions:

Although both tools are associated with similarly high levels of patient satisfaction and low rates of self-reported medication error, 3D appears to promote patient understanding of the medications, and warrants further study.

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