An evaluation of an adapted U.S. model of pharmaceutical care to improve psychoactive prescribing for nursing home residents in northern ireland (fleetwood northern ireland study)

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010 Jan;58(1):44-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02617.x. Epub 2009 Dec 9.


Objectives: To test the effect of an adapted U.S. model of pharmaceutical care on prescribing of inappropriate psychoactive (anxiolytic, hypnotic, and antipsychotic) medications and falls in nursing homes for older people in Northern Ireland (NI).

Design: Cluster randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Nursing homes randomized to intervention (receipt of the adapted model of care; n=11) or control (usual care continued; n=11).

Participants: Residents aged 65 and older who provided informed consent (N=334; 173 intervention, 161 control).

Intervention: Specially trained pharmacists visited intervention homes monthly for 12 months and reviewed residents' clinical and prescribing information, applied an algorithm that guided them in assessing the appropriateness of psychoactive medication, and worked with prescribers (general practitioners) to improve the prescribing of these drugs. The control homes received usual care.

Measurements: The primary end point was the proportion of residents prescribed one or more inappropriate psychoactive medicine according to standardized protocols; falls were evaluated using routinely collected falls data mandated by the regulatory body for nursing homes in NI.

Results: The proportion of residents taking inappropriate psychoactive medications at 12 months in the intervention homes (25/128, 19.5%) was much lower than in the control homes (62/124, 50.0%) (odds ratio=0.26, 95% confidence interval=0.14-0.49) after adjustment for clustering within homes. No differences were observed at 12 months in the falls rate between the intervention and control groups.

Conclusion: Marked reductions in inappropriate psychoactive medication prescribing in residents resulted from pharmacist review of targeted medications, but there was no effect on falls.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Drug Prescriptions / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Northern Ireland
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • United States


  • Psychotropic Drugs

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN18113807