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Nurse-led medicine monitoring can prevent adverse side effects

Nurse-led monitoring of medicines taken by people with mental health problems can prevent serious adverse side effects, reveals new research.
Medicine monitoring side effects

Nurse-led monitoring of medicines taken by people with mental health conditions can prevent serious adverse side effects, reveals new research

Now researchers want the NHS to consider introducing medicines monitoring throughout health boards and trusts.

The study, published in Nursing Standard , used a monitoring checklist on 20 people with mental health problems, supported at home by mental health crisis teams, over one month.

Researchers found all had unmet needs and two people had previously unreported life-threatening problems.

Benefits of monitoring

Swansea University professor in nursing Sue Jordan, who led the study and similar research in care homes, said rolling out monitoring in the NHS would be an obvious benefit to patients.

The reason

Nurse-led monitoring of medicines taken by people with mental health conditions can prevent serious adverse side effects, reveals new research

Medicine monitoring side effects
Researchers find medicine monitoring can prevent side effects
for mental health patients. Picture: iStock

Now researchers want the NHS to consider introducing medicines’ monitoring throughout health boards and trusts.

The study, published in Nursing Standard, used a monitoring checklist on 20 people with mental health problems, supported at home by mental health crisis teams, over one month.

Researchers found all had unmet needs and two people had previously unreported life-threatening problems.

Benefits of monitoring

Swansea University professor in nursing Sue Jordan, who led the study and similar research in care homes, said rolling out monitoring in the NHS would be ‘an obvious benefit’ to patients.

‘The reason why we want health boards and trusts to adopt medicines’ monitoring is that when our profiles were used, fewer care home residents experienced pain and sedation.'

Professor Jordan said problems with balance, confusion, restlessness, nausea and eating were also addressed.

‘Our monitoring profiles also identify early signs of heart problems and allow nurses to work with prescribers to get the best doses of the best medicines for patients in community mental health.’

The profile helps nurses recognise and act on adverse drug reactions including, pain, dental pain, aggression, peptic ulcers and sedation, and prompts prescribers to adjust doses.

Other findings included:

  • Three patients needing referral to consultant psychiatrists.
  • Three patients needing referral to GPs.
  • One patient needing an urgent ECG.
  • One patient needing referral to a dentist.
  • Four patients needing medicines to be discontinued.
  • Previously neglected health promotion issues highlighted in all patients.

 

Professor Jordan added: ‘Nurse-led medicines’ monitoring is an under-researched area of healthcare but has improved patient outcomes.’

Patients were monitored using the West Wales Adverse Drug Reaction Profile, which is designed for nurses and combines complex drug information into a checklist with advice on common problems.

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