A Quality Improvement Initiative to Improve Medication Management in an Acute Care for Elders Program Through Integration of a Clinical Pharmacist

Author Department

Pharmacy; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date




To describe the implementation and impact of integrating a clinical pharmacist into interdisciplinary Acute Care for Elderly (ACE) rounds at a teaching hospital.


Pre- and postanalyses were performed 6 months before and 12 months after the intervention. We report the total number, type, and frequency of recommendations made by the clinical pharmacist, the acceptance rate by the physician, and interventions on potentially inappropriate medications (PIM).


Among the 588 patients who met the ACE inclusion criteria, mean age was 81.2 years, 54.9% were female, and 79.8% were of white race. A total of 1243 pharmacy recommendations were recorded. The median number of recommendations per patient increased from a median of 1 (range: 1-7) in the preintervention to 2 (1-13) in the postintervention period, resulting in an incidence rate ratio of 1.25 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.10-1.40). The main categories of recommendations were dose adjustment, avoidance of inappropriate therapy, and prevention of adverse drug events. In the postintervention period, there was an increase in recommendations among analgesics (from 3.7% to 7.5%), PIMs (from 12% to 14%), and, in particular, antidepressant/antipsychotics (from 1.9% to 6.0%). The acceptance rate of the recommendations remained roughly the same (86.5% vs 84.4%).


Proactive involvement of a clinical pharmacist in ACE rounds resulted in a substantial increase in recommendation for medication changes, most notably for PIMs. These recommendations generally were accepted by physicians. The integration of a clinical pharmacist requires significant dedicated time but leads to increased recognition of drug-related problems in the acute-care setting, resulting in improved patient outcomes.