Inappropriate management of medications is a major threat to homebound patients with chronic conditions. Despite many efforts in improving medication reconciliation in ambulatory and inpatient settings, little research has focused on home care settings. In 2016, Taiwan initiated the Integrated Home Health Care programme, which was intended to reduce potentially inappropriate medication management and risks of uncontrolled polypharmacy through the integration of different medication sources for chronic conditions among homebound patients. This study investigated factors associated with having home care physicians as an integrated source of medications for chronic conditions among homebound patients.
This retrospective cohort study enrolled 3,142 community-dwelling homebound patients from Taipei City Hospital. Homebound patients’ adherence to using home care physicians as an integrated source of chronic condition medications was defined as having all prescriptions for their chronic conditions prescribed by a single home care physician for at least six months. Both patient and home care physician characteristics were analysed. Multivariable logistic regression was applied.
Of the 3,142 patients with chronic conditions, 1,002 (31.9%) had consistently obtained all medications for their chronic illnesses from their home care physicians for 6 months and 2,140 (68.1%) had not. The most common chronic diseases among homebound patients were hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dementia, cerebrovascular disease, and constipation. Oldest-old patients with poor functional status, fewer daily medications, no co-payment exemption, and no recent inpatient experience were more likely to adhere to this medication integration system. In addition, patients whose outpatient physicians were also their home care physicians were more likely to adhere to the system.
The finding suggests that building trust and enhancing communication among homebound patients, caregivers, and home care physicians are critical. Patient and provider variations highlight the need for further improvement and policy modification for medication reconciliation and management in home care settings. The improvement in medication management and care integration in home care settings may reduce misuse and polypharmacy and improve homebound patients’ safety.