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Patient and Physician Perspectives of Deprescribing Potentially Inappropriate Medications in Older Adults with a History of Falls: a Qualitative Study.

Hahn EE, Munoz-Plaza CE, Lee EA, Luong TQ, Mittman BS, Kanter MH, Singh H, Danforth KN. Patient and Physician Perspectives of Deprescribing Potentially Inappropriate Medications in Older Adults with a History of Falls: a Qualitative Study. Journal of general internal medicine. 2021 Oct 1; 36(10):3015-3022.

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BACKGROUND: High-risk medications pose serious safety risks to older adults, including increasing the risk of falls. Deprescribing potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) in older adults who have experienced a fall is a key element of fall reduction strategies. However, continued use of PIMs in older adults is common, and clinicians may face substantial deprescribing barriers. OBJECTIVE: Explore patient and clinician experiences with and perceptions of deprescribing PIMs in patients with a history of falls. DESIGN: We led guided patient feedback sessions to explore deprescribing scenarios with patient stakeholders and conducted semi-structured interviews with primary care physicians (PCPs) to explore knowledge and awareness of fall risk guidelines, deprescribing experiences, and barriers and facilitators to deprescribing. PARTICIPANTS: PCPs from Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) and patient members of the KPSC Regional Patient Advisory Committee. APPROACH: We used maximum variation sampling to identify PCPs with patients who had a fall, then categorized the resulting PIM dispense distribution for those patients into high and low frequency. We analyzed the data using a hybrid deductive-inductive approach. Coders applied initial deductively derived codes to the data, simultaneously using an open-code inductive approach to capture emergent themes. KEY RESULTS: Physicians perceived deprescribing discussions as potentially contentious, even among patients with falls. Physicians reported varying comfort levels with deprescribing strategies: some felt that the conversations might be better suited to others (e.g., pharmacists), while others had well-planned negotiation strategies. Patients reported lack of clarity as to the reasons and goals of deprescribing and poor understanding of the seriousness of falls. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that key barriers to deprescribing include PCP trepidation about raising a contentious topic and insufficient patient awareness of the potential seriousness of falls. Findings suggest the need for multifaceted, multilevel deprescribing approaches with clinician training strategies, patient educational resources, and a focus on building trusting patient-clinician relationships.

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