Exploring medication safety structures and processes in nursing homes: a cross-sectional study

Int J Clin Pharm. 2023 Dec;45(6):1464-1471. doi: 10.1007/s11096-023-01625-6. Epub 2023 Aug 10.


Background: Medication safety is important to limit adverse events for nursing home residents. Several factors, such as interprofessional collaboration with pharmacists and medication reviews, have been shown in the literature to influence medication safety processes.

Aim: This study had three main objectives: (1) To assess how facility- and unit-level organization and infrastructure are related to medication use processes; (2) To determine the extent of medication safety-relevant processes; and (3) To explore pharmacies' and pharmacists' involvement in nursing homes' medication-related processes.

Method: Cross-sectional multicenter survey data (2018-2019) from a convenience sample of 118 Swiss nursing homes were used. Data were collected on facility and unit characteristics, pharmacy services, as well as medication safety-related structures and processes. Descriptive statistics were used.

Results: Most of the participating nursing homes (93.2%) had electronic resident health record systems that supported medication safety in various ways (e.g., medication lists, interaction checks). Electronic data exchanges with outside partners such as pharmacies or physicians were available for fewer than half (10.2-46.3%, depending on the partner). Pharmacists collaborating with nursing homes were mainly involved in logistical support. Medication reviews were reportedly conducted regularly in two-thirds of facilities.

Conclusion: A high proportion of Swiss nursing homes have implemented diverse processes and structures that support medication use and safety for residents; however, their collaboration with pharmacists remains relatively limited.

Keywords: Clinical pharmacy; Interprofessional collaboration; Medication safety; Nursing homes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes
  • Pharmaceutical Services*
  • Pharmacists
  • Physicians*