Managing medications after discharge

Being released from the hospital seems like the end of an ordeal. But when her mother came home from a stay in the intensive care unit, WSU College of Nursing professor Cindy Corbett saw for herself how perplexing, even dangerous, the transition can be.

Despite her education and experience as a nurse, Dr. Corbett found herself struggling to straighten out which medications her mother needed at what dosage and when they had last been administered. Each of the care providers she contacted had only a partial picture of what her mother needed. She knew that if she was having trouble putting the post-hospital medication puzzle together, others would be having problems too.

She decided to do something about it. Transitional care became one of her passions—and the topic of several grants. In addition to the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Corbett’s research has been funded by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ Research and Education Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

With the chronic care management model as a starting point, she is finding better ways to help patients understand their medications at hospital discharge and communicate an accurate medication list to their local healthcare providers.

With better medication management will come fewer hospital readmissions, lower healthcare costs, and ultimately better health for many people—a win for everyone.