Background Geriatrics is a specialty that focuses on the healthcare of the elderly. It aims to promote health by preventing and treating diseases and disabilities in older adults. While there is no set age at which a patient may be called ‘elderly’, patients over 60 years of age tend to have more comorbidities and prescribed drugs. Pharmaceutical care provided to elderly people is challenging as it embraces numerous pathologies, polypharmacy, drug interactions and complex care. By 2030, 1 in 6 persons will be aged 60 years or over.
Purpose The objective of this study was to identify the role and impact of the pharmacist in geriatrics.
Material and methods A literature search was conducted using PubMed and the following terms: pharmacist OR clinical pharmacy OR pharmaceutical care AND geriatrics from 1 January 1990 to 26 September 2016. Manual search was also conducted using selected articles. The selection of articles was based on abstracts. Selected articles were reviewed, analysed and entered in Impactpharmacie.org website according to a standard operating procedure. Relevant key data were extracted for each article, including the type and description of the pharmaceutical interventions and descriptive and outcomes indicators with their results. No statistical analysis was conducted.
Results A total of 140 articles were included. Described pharmaceutical interventions included drug therapy assessment (in n=121 articles), interdisciplinary work (n=83), medication reconciliation (n=58), patient care needs assessment (n=55), knowledge transfer (n=55), patient follow-up (n=46), management and preparation of medication (n=30), patient–pharmacist relationship (n=24) and competencies maintenance (n=9). The impact of pharmacists’ interventions was studied using a total of 1099 indicators from which 470 (43%) had outcome measures. Of these 470 outcome indicators, 200 (43%) were positive, 266 (56%) neutral and 4 negative (1%). For instance, the pharmacist contributed to a decrease in drug related hospitalisation, falls, inappropriate drug prescribing and to an increase in drug adherence.
Conclusion The role and impact of pharmacists have been studied in geriatrics and 43% of outcome indicators used in these studies show a positive impact of pharmaceutical interventions. Pharmacists should pay attention to this evidence to improve their practice in geriatrics.
No conflict of interest
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