As the Canadian population continues to age, there is an increase in the prevalence of multiple chronic illnesses within the aging population. These co-morbidities, in conjunction with sub-specialist prescribers, lead to patients taking many medications. The Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) found that 1 in 4 adults over the age of 65 were prescribed 10 or more medications. Each year 12% of seniors taking 5 or more medicines will experience a side effect that requires medical attention. The leading cause of hospitalization is adverse drug reactions (ADR) due to individuals taking 5 or more medications at a time. Furthermore, Canadians spend $1.4 billion annually in healthcare costs to treat harmful effects resulting from ADS such as worsening health, preventable falls, hospitalization, and death.
Noticing an opportunity in not only to improve patient outcomes but also decrease costs to the organization and greater system, Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) has started a Deprescribing Program. Deprescribing is defined as the planned and supervised process of dose reduction or stopping of medication that might be causing harm, or no longer be of benefit. In a short period of time, the initiatives in the program have become successful in improving patient outcomes and quality of care.
The program started with a pilot targeting Inhaled Cortical Steroids (ICS). Due to the pilot’s success and positive feedback, MGH is continuing to expand deprescribing across the organization and has made it a priority by setting it as one of the Quality Improvement Programs (QIP) within the hospital.