• Rome Memorial Hospital has launched a new education program to help patients better understand and take their prescription medications for their safety and to achieve the best therapeutic effect.

    According to a report published by the Annals of Internal Medicine, Americans are failing to comply with medication prescriptions for a variety of reasons and it's costing up to $289 billion a year. The goal of the hospital’s program is to educate patients about their prescription medications to aid in compliance, patient safety and reduce preventable readmissions.

    The report estimates that while up to 30 percent of prescriptions for medication are never filled, nearly 50 percent of medications aren't taken as prescribed.

    Medication noncompliance creates major headaches for patients and doctors alike down the road, and can be deadly. For example, someone with congestive heart failure who doesn't take their diuretics correctly will often wind up in the hospital again and again. Failure to follow prescriptions results in 125,000 deaths a year and up to 10 percent of all hospitalizations, the study's authors say.

    Rome Memorial Hospital Clinical Service Departments saw an opportunity to supplement existing medication education by developing boards with medication information slips for patients and their families, according Scott Burns, R.Ph., Rome Memorial Hospital pharmacy director. The boards are prominently located in patient care areas on the second floor of the hospital.

    “Our Pharmacy team has profiled the top discharge medications and created colorful, well-designed boards for our patients with pictures that represent the classification of medication they are taking, as well as tailoring the top side effects of each medicine to all patients with easy to understand language,” Burns said. “Patients and families are encouraged to take and keep the side effect slips out of the corresponding medication pockets for their own information.”

    Nurses, aides, therapists and families can walk with the patient to the board, choose the slip of information about the medications they are taking and learn more about their medications. This promotes enhanced communication about medications, patient understanding of what they are taking along with medication compliance and overall patient satisfaction.

    “Our Stay Ahead, Know Your Meds board came to life after a session I had attended at the Press Ganey National Client Conference,” said Kristin West, director of Risk Management and Patient Experience. “The idea was to bring care providers back to basics and more importantly back to the bedside taking care of our patients in a cost-effective and low-tech manner.”

    “The purpose of the boards is to supplement education to our patients and their families on medications they are taking and their potential side effects,” continued West. “Side effects listed on slips of paper in brightly colored pockets are easily understandable for patients and their families.”

    “Our patients have many reasons why they may not be compliant with medications,” said West. “We know that everything from language barriers, to inconvenience, forgetfulness and cost are real factors which play in to this ever growing problem, but our goal is to do everything we can to break down those barriers and demonstrate why it is so vital that medications are taken as prescribed.”


     Medication Boards 
    STAY AHEAD, KNOW YOUR MEDS… Rome Memorial Hospital has launched a new program to help patients better understand and take their prescription medications for their safety and to achieve the best therapeutic effect using educational boards in patient care areas. Pictured with the boards on the hospital’s critical care unit from left: Laci Townsend, PharmD, pharmacist, Rome Memorial Hospital pharmacy department; Heather DeFrees, pharmacy technician, pharmacy department; Eileen Vera, RN, 2 North; Manon Gouse, assistant vice president of therapeutic services/patient safety officer and Kristin West, director of risk management and patient experience.