Clinical pharmacists, under the supervision of a family practitioner physician, assumed responsibility for drug management of geriatric patients in a Los Angeles skilled nursing facility. In a quasi-experimental, pretest-post-test control group design, outcome criteria were measured. Compared with the control group which received traditional patient care, the prescribing clinical pharmacists' group had a significantly lower number of deaths (P = 0.05), a significantly higher number of patients being discharged to lower levels of care (P = 0.03), and a significantly lower average number of drugs per patient (P = 0.04). The lower number of patients hospitalized approached significance (P = 0.06) in the prescribing clinical pharmacists' group. The practice of having clinical pharmacists prescribe drug therapy and render general care, under the supervision of a physician, has the potential for saving the health care system approximately $70,000 per year per 100 skilled nursing facility beds.
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