Polypharmacy is a complex and pervasive problem, contributing to medication errors, the most common patient safety errors. The elderly are particularly vulnerable for polypharmacy and diminished health literacy; therefore, much more vulnerable for medication errors and adverse drug events. Medication reconciliation has been recommended by Joint Commission, the Institute of Medicine and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as a strategy to decrease medication errors and adverse drug events. Inadequate and ineffective communication has been implicated in many patient safety errors, especially medication errors. Registered nurses (RN) are responsible for interviewing patients for medication histories, the first step in the medication reconciliation process. However, new graduate registered nurses may not have received the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to complete an effective interview to obtain an accurate medication list, in an efficient, timely manner. Advance practice nurses have optimal knowledge and skills to assess organizations and facilitate implementation procedures and programs for a system-wide comprehensive medication reconciliation process. Providing RN Residents with an education module on communication/interview skills, characteristics of the elderly as a special, vulnerable population and strategies to overcome diminished health literacy related to medication list could improve effective communication, accuracy of medication lists, decrease medication errors and time needed to obtain an accurate, complete medication list.
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