Interventions to Enhance Medication Safety in Residential Aged-care Settings: An Umbrella Review.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
British journal of clinical pharmacology, 2021
Issue Date:
Full metadata record


To conduct a systematic synthesis of existing evidence reviews on interventions to enhance medication safety in residential aged-care settings (RACS) to establish and compare their effectiveness.


This umbrella review included examination of meta-analyses, scoping and systematic reviews. Four electronic databases were examined for eligible reviews. Two authors critically appraised those meeting the inclusion criteria using the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Instrument.


Fifteen reviews covering 171 unique, primary studies were included. Of the variety of interventions identified in the literature, five main categories of interventions were commonly reported to be effective in promoting medication safety in RACS (medication review, staff education, multidisciplinary team meetings, computerised clinical decision support systems and miscellaneous). Most reviews showed mixed evidence to support intervention effectiveness due to the significant heterogeneity between studies in their sites, sample sizes and intervention periods. In all intervention categories, pharmacists' collaboration was most beneficial, showing definitive evidence for improving medication safety and quality of prescribing in RACS. Eight reviews recommended multicomponent interventions, particularly medication reviews and staff education, but specific details were infrequently provided. Only five reviews presented insights into implementation facilitators and barriers, while the sustainability of interventions was only discussed in one review.


There is strong evidence to support the four main categories of interventions identified. However, limited details are available regarding the most appropriate design and implementation of multicomponent interventions and the sustainability of all interventions, thus solid recommendations cannot be made. Future research in this field should focus on producing theoretically informed, methodologically robust, original research, particularly regarding the design, implementation and sustainability of multicomponent interventions, which appears the most promising approach.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: