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Safer med management through resident and family input

September 14, 2022

Building on peopleCare’s commitment to meaningful engagement that leads to better care and experiences, the team at Hilltop Manor is partnering with residents and families to improve medication management practices and satisfaction in the Home.

This important work is one of the projects selected by Hilltop as a priority area of focus to shape their contributions as one of 10 provincial ISMP Medication Safety Champions.

Med Safety Champion team member Vickie Cook, who is Hilltop’s Director of Resident Care and IPAC Lead, explains the aim of the project is to increase resident and family understanding and knowledge of medication safety, and strengthen the partnership between all members of the care circle.

“Integrating residents and families in our quality improvement process is something we see as fundamental,” says Vickie. “We are excited to have this new opportunity to involve them, to learn together and to ultimately have the best outcome.”

Image of (left to right) Val Scherer, Deborah Beckman, Vickie Cook, and Brenda Mercer

Left to right: Val Scherer, Deborah Beckman, Vickie Cook, and Brenda Mercer

With the project goals in mind, in late spring 2022, the team began by inviting a resident and family member to join the medication safety committee. Brenda Mercer, head of Hilltop’s Resident Council, and family caregiver Val Scherer, enthusiastically stepped up to the call for interested participants.

With the team’s support, the duo took the lead on conducting in-person surveys of fellow residents, families and other designated caregivers on medication practices in the Home. Their high-touch approach complemented the use of online surveying to reach even more family caregivers and substitute decisionmakers.

Leveraging the expertise of ISMP, the survey questions included How involved are residents in decisions about their medications? How aware are residents about their medications? And how do residents communicate their concerns to the clinical staff?

Resident Brenda feels the survey was a great opportunity for residents to share their thoughts on a variety of issues that matter to them.

“It is important for residents to receive effective communication on the medications they’re taking,” she says. “We also appreciate having a say in areas of our care besides our prescriptions.”

Deborah Beckman, Executive Director of Nursing at Hilltop, agrees, noting that much like our annual  resident and family caregiver experience surveys, the results offered valuable key insights on Home practices.

“Not only did the survey shed light on improvements we can make to our medication practices, we also learned residents would appreciate the opportunity to communicate more with our medical team.”

Following the survey, the committee completed a review of prescription medication processes, from how new and existing medications are ordered to how they are distributed in a safe and controlled manner. Input from our pharmacy partners, who are valued enablers of peopleCare’s award-winning Clinical Pharmacy Model (CPM), was instrumental in the process.

The team has developed an action plan and tools to address some of the issues that arose and plans to repeat the survey in six months. Outcomes that will help measure the project’s success include percentage of resident engagement with an increased knowledge and satisfaction with the Home’s medication practices, and percentage of family involvement in the follow up survey.

Leveraging peopleCare’s ongoing commitment to embedding the voices of resident and families in our decision-making and quality improvement processes, and building off peopleCare’s innovative CPM, this project supports ongoing quality improvement at Hilltop. As part of the ISMP-led Strengthening Medication Safety in Long-Term Care Initiative, the Hilltop team also has the opportunity to inform learnings and spearhead leading practices at the provincial level.

“This work is so important to me, as I was previously an essential caregiver to my mother,” says Val, whose mother was a resident of Hilltop. “I want residents to feel empowered and have a voice for any questions or concerns. Everything we’re doing will benefit residents today and in the future.”

Read more about our commitment to integrating families as care partners in our Homes.