Background In our hospital catchment area, thickeners for patients suffering from dysphagia are delivered via hospital pharmacy services (HPS). Given the increasing number of patients, we decided to design a new delivery system.
Purpose Our main aim was to design a thickener home delivery system (HDS). Our second objective was to evaluate patients’ acceptance, together with the time saved by this pathway.
Material and methods We registered demographic variables, the number of patients using thickeners and consultations per patient before changing the pathway. Two months after implementation, the number of calls and data referring to patients who either revoked or accepted HDS were registered. Electronic medical records (Silicon) were consulted to obtain variables. For evaluation of the time saved by the pathway, we estimated 15 min for consultations and 10 min for HDS coordination.
Results A bimonthly thickener HDS was proposed to patients attending the outpatients’ clinic and a brochure containing contact information provided. To ensure any necessary HDS, patients were advised to mail or call the pharmacy 5–10 days before finishing their thickener supply so that the provider could be contacted, indicating the units of thickeners to deliver to each patient.
A one-year observational study (September 2017 to September 2018) was carried out. Six-hundred and eighty three patients were prescribed with thickeners, 388 females (56.8%) with a median age of 86 (range 26–109). Two-thousand three-hundred and seventy-two in-person visits took place (on average 3.5 visits/patient and 198 visits monthly) and 14 600 thickeners were delivered. The new pathway commenced on July 2018: 321/683 patients (47%) attended the outpatient clinic during the first two months and 319 accepted the new system and two patients revoked HDS. In August, 144 patient calls requesting new deliveries were registered. This pathway implies a saving of 198 consultation hours/year, i.e. approximately 26 days for one worker/year.
Conclusion The implementation of the new pathway was well accepted by patients and carried out in a short period of time. Therefore, two months from now all patients will have the opportunity to request HDS. For HPS staff a considerable amount of time can thus be saved.
References and/or acknowledgements No conflict of interest.
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