Posted: December 18, 2018

Patients returning to the community after a hospital stay are benefiting from a home-grown innovation at Grand River Hospital that supports better care, saves time and improves coordination with healthcare providers.

GRH pharmacists work in the Health Care Centre Pharmacy, providing their compassion and expertise to supporting patients and families.

Grand River Hospital is using its retail pharmacy to run a “Meds to Beds” program at the Freeport and KW campuses. When a patient needs a prescription filled upon their return home and consents to taking part, pharmacists from the hospital’s retail pharmacy deliver the medication right to the patient’s bedside.

“This is convenient for the patient and their family because they don’t have to remember an extra stop on their way home,” said Lashen Naidoo, a pharmacist at GRH and manager of the hospital’s retail pharmacy. “It’s also fabulous for quality and continuity of care, and builds better links with each patient’s community providers.”

Grand River Hospital launched Meds to Beds to make the transition from hospital to home easier and reduce potential risks during this transition in care. After leaving the hospital, patients sometimes face unexpected delays in having their prescription filled, which can impact their on-going recovery. The Meds to Beds program solves this problem while promoting better health outcomes.

A pharmacist in GRH's retail pharmacy

When patients opt into the program, the process works as follows:

  • The inpatient pharmacist prepares a discharge medication reconciliation (MedRec) form in the unit. The form goes to the hospital’s retail pharmacy with a discharge time;
  • Pharmacists in the retail pharmacy prepare the medication(s). A pharmacist delivers the medication and provides in-person counselling. This occurs either in the patient’s hospital room, a discharge lounge or the retail pharmacy depending on the patient’s preference; and
  • A fax is then sent to the patient’s regular pharmacy to ensure communication about the discharge prescriptions and continuity of care. Patients are encouraged to see their physician within seven days of discharge.

GRH is uniquely placed to support Meds to Beds because the hospital owns and operates its retail pharmacy. This allows a secure exchange of information (with the patient’s consent) between inpatient and retail pharmacists. This process would be much more complicated with a private partner.

“A patient’s journey doesn’t end when they leave the hospital. Meds to Beds provides a better way to make sure that a patient’s recovery continues uninterrupted after they leave GRH, minimizing the possibility of having to return to the hospital due to unexpected complications,” said Nael Abumustafa, director of GRH’s medicine and stroke programs which were early adopters of Meds to Beds.

“This is a great example of a number of healthcare professionals coming up with a solution that saves time for patients and improves care,” said Judy Linton, GRH’s vice president of clinical services and chief nursing executive. “Medical and nursing staff worked closely with individuals in pharmacy, business development and administration to make this happen. I applaud their initiative and ingenuity in making Meds to Beds a reality for patients.”

Meds to Beds launched as a pilot in the clinical teaching unit at the KW Campus, expanding to involve patients across both hospital campuses. Approximately 2,000 patients a year are expected to benefit from the full implementation of the service.

Learn more about the Health Care Centre Pharmacy (proceeds support patient care at GRH)