Compliance aids reduce medicine administration errors in care homes

Researchers observe higher accuracy rates when multi-compartment containers are used instead of original packaging to administer tablets to care-home residents.

Multi-compartment compliance aid box

In the UK, multi-compartment compliance aids (MCA) are commonly used in care homes. However, their impact on medication administration error rates in this setting has not been fully evaluated.

In the first study of its kind, a pharmacist researcher directly observed a total of 2,452 tablet and capsule medicine doses administered across ten Greater London care homes over a nine-month period.

The team found that the medicine administration error rate associated with administering tablets and capsules from original packaging was three times greater than when an MCA was used (9.3% and 3.1% respectively; risk ratio [RR] = 3.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.4 to 6.1; P<0.001).

Writing in the International Journal of Nursing Studies
(online, 27 March 2017), the researchers say that the results support the use of MCAs in care homes but they cannot be used alone to determine the most appropriate medication administration system for individual care homes.


[1] Gilmartin-Thomas J, Smith F, Wolfe R et al. A comparison of medication administration errors from original medication packaging and multi-compartment compliance aids in care homes: A prospective observational study. Int J Nurs Stud 2017;72:15–23. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2017.03.008

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, July 2017, Vol 9, No 7;9(7):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20202977

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