Medicine pre-packaging system adopted at 14 nursing homes island-wide

SINGAPORE - Anyone with multiple long-term illnesses will know that keeping track of medication can be a challenge.

This is especially so for the elderly or for those who have difficulty identifying medications and remembering when or how to take them.

To address these common problems, the National Healthcare Group Pharmacy is introducing ConviDose - Singapore's first multi-dose medication management service, which helps patients and caregivers alike by pre-packaging medicine dosages into individual sachets.

Medicine is pre-packaged into the stipulated quantity and time the pills need to be consumed.

Mdm Low Mui Lang, Executive Director of The Salvation Army Peacehaven Nursing Home, said: "Some residents may require up to 15 different pills a day, which can be a challenge to keep track of accurately.

"This system helps simplify things by providing all the necessary medicines for each dose in one convenient sachet."

In addition, the service allows nursing homes to free up precious manpower, save on storage space, cut down wastage and improve medication safety, said Ms Chan Soo Chung, NHG Pharmacy Executive Director.

Four long stay wards in the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and14 nursing homes island-wide have already adopted this service in a pilot round started in May 2010.

The pilot, started at Toa Payoh Polyclinic, was conducted to assess patients' needs and fine tune the operational workflow. It has so far benefited about 3,000 patients.

The pilot round revealed a significant improvement in productivity at the back-end, as the man-days needed to pack the medication for 200 beds were drastically reduced to 1.5 man-days, instead of the previous 20 man-days.

National Healthcare Group Chief Executive Officer Professor Chee Yam Cheng said that they eventually hope to provide this service at all nine National Healthcare Group Polyclinics island-wide.

In the future, they further intend to extend this service to the daycare centres and patients being looked after by the private healthcare providers, Prof Chee added.

ConviDose won a Merit Award in the Ministry of Health's EXCEL Best Innovative Project in 2010. It also clinched the NHG Excellence in Action Award (Team category) that same year.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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