What is the matter with crushing pills and opening capsules?

Int J Nurs Pract. 2010 Feb;16(1):81-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-172X.2009.01814.x.


This study aims to map out to what degree medication is being crushed and mixed into the patients' food and beverages and how often this practice included medication, which has a statement in the Norwegian pharmaceutical compendium that this should not be done (inappropriately altered medication (IAM)). Data from a total of 2108 patients in 151 wards in 65 nursing homes were collected. The data contained information about the kind of drugs the patient received, in which form it was given and how it was given. Patient characteristics and ward characteristics were also recorded. Twenty-three per cent were given at least one drug mixed into their food or beverages and 10% were given at least one IAM. This study shows a malpractice regarding one aspect of medication in nursing homes. Even though we need more knowledge, we know enough to take action to raise the quality of the administration of medicines in nursing homes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Beverages*
  • Capsules
  • Drug Therapy* / methods
  • Drug Therapy* / nursing
  • Drug Therapy* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Food*
  • Geriatric Nursing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Malpractice / statistics & numerical data
  • Medication Errors* / nursing
  • Medication Errors* / statistics & numerical data
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Norway
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Nursing Homes / organization & administration
  • Pharmacopoeias as Topic
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Tablets


  • Capsules
  • Tablets