Informational needs and recall of in-hospital medication changes of recently discharged patients

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PurposeThe need for information for patients and caregivers at the point of hospital discharge is paramount and potentially extensive.ObjectiveThe objective of this study was to assess patients’ informational needs at hospital discharge, patients’ recall of medication changes implemented in the hospital and patients’ medication related problems experienced one week after hospital discharge.MethodsThe study was conducted in a teaching hospital where patients received structured discharge counseling. Patients were interviewed at hospital discharge regarding their informational needs. One week post-discharge, patients were interviewed by phone to assess any changes in informational needs, their recall regarding in-hospital medication changes and the medication related problems. Descriptive analysis and logistic regression were used to address study objectives.ResultsThe 124 patients in the study regarded the following topics as most relevant for counseling: what the medicine is for (57%), side effects (52%), drug-drug interactions (45%), action of the drug (37%) and reimbursement (31%). In 9% of patients the informational needs changed post-discharge, e.g. the topic side effects increased in importance. Forty-nine percent could recall whether and which medication was changed during hospitalization. Medication-related problems and side effects were reported by respectively 27% and 15% of patients, whereas only 7% contacted their doctor or pharmacist.ConclusionsPatients’ informational needs are very individual and can change post-discharge. Despite structured counseling, only half of the patients were able to recall the medication changes implemented in the hospital. Furthermore, patients reported several problems for which they did not consult a healthcare provider. This insight could help in smoothing the transition from hospital to the primary care setting.

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