Safety-relevant medication processes in Swiss nursing homes

Reducing adverse drug events in nursing homes is a central patient safety concern. The aim of this study was to assess how often selected medication processes to increase medication safety are already implemented in Swiss nursing homes and to examine how nursing homes that have not yet implemented these processes can be characterized based on their organizational features.


420 of 1,525 invited individuals participated in the survey (response rate: 27.5 %). Of these, 65.0 % stated that regular systematic medication reviews have been provided in their institution. 9.5 % of the nursing homes use a list to identify potentially inappropriate medication, and 6.7 % of the nursing homes have a standardized process to monitor side effects of medications. 66.0 % of the participating nursing homes have implemented at least one of these three processes, 34.0 % of the participating nursing homes have not implemented any of the three processes. Statistically significant differences in process implementation were found according to the geographical location of the nursing home, the type of documentation used for medications, the physician model, the number of external general practitioners, as well as the medication supply channel and the legal obligation to cooperate with pharmacists. No differences were found with regard to the nursing home size.

In Swiss nursing homes, central safety-relevant medication processes have not yet been implemented nationwide. In particular, implementation is not widespread in nursing homes where medical care for their residents is provided by many different external general practitioners. The organizational features need to be taken into account to successfully implement quality improvement measures.

The journal of evidence and quality in health care

Andrea Niederhauser, Dr. Lea Brühwiler, Dr. Liat Fishmann, Prof. Dr. David Schwappach der Stiftung Patientensicherheit Schweiz.