International publication recognises nurse-led medicines’ monitoring study which improves patient care

Important research from Swansea University, published today by the prestigious online PLOS ONE, has found that structured monitoring of patients can improve care.

A Swansea University, College of Human and Health Sciences study which aims to reduce adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in patients with respiratory problems found that a straightforward questionnaire has helped to identify avoidable medicine-related problems in 100% of its participants.

The study used a ‘questionnaire’ called the West Wales Adverse Drug Reaction Profile (WWADR) to help nurses prioritise and structure medication monitoring to improve patients’ health. In a randomised control trial of 54 patients, 28 received their normal nursing care, and 26 responded to the WWADR profile plus their regular care. When the questionnaire was added to standard care, on average, 2 more problems were addressed for each patient. Without the questionnaire, there was no change in the numbers of problems addressed.

The profile helped nurses to make referrals to other health care professionals and signpost other sources of advice for suspected infections, oral thrush, falls, urinary problems, vaccinations, dental care.

Chris Mulholland, Head of the British Lung Foundation Wales, said:

“This study has shown that by helping people to better understand their medications, any problems can be ironed out early on. This, in turn, will inevitably stop issues from escalating which is a win: win for both the patient and the health service.”

Marie Gabe, Swansea University PhD student who has conducted the research said:

“Helping patients to get the best from their medication is an important part of patient care. Expecting patients and nurses to spontaneously recognise medicine-related problems can be difficult.

“ I am delighted that PLOS ONE have decided to publish the study so that others can use the ‘questionnaire’ profile to help nurses monitor medication to improve patients’ health.

“ I am really pleased at how the medication monitoring worked in practice and would like to thank Swansea University, the local clinical trials unit, and all the academics, clinicians and patients who freely volunteered their time to this study. I am grateful to Research Capacity Building Collaboration Wales (RCBC Wales) and Wales School for Primary Care Research (WSPCR) for their support.”

The PLOS ONE paper can be found at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0096682 .