To examine the patterns of H2 blocker use in the long-term-care setting and to assess the effect of educational interventions designed to improve H2 blocker utilization patterns.
Time-series quasi-experimental study and retrospective chart review.
A large academically-oriented long-term-care facility.
Institutionalized elderly patients with a mean age of 88 years receiving H2 blocker therapy.
Two interventions involving group discussions with the medical staff, supporting educational materials, and physician-specific listings of patients receiving H2 blockers were employed sequentially over a 32-month period.
Each intervention resulted in substantial reductions in medication use (59.6% and 32.1%, respectively). Indications for H2 blocker use were determined retrospectively for patients identified as receiving therapy prior to the interventions (n = 110). Forty-one percent were found to be receiving therapy for reasons unsubstantiated by the medical literature. These patients were more likely to be discontinued from therapy than those receiving therapy for substantiated indications (P less than 0.01), consistent with the primary focus of the educational interventions.
These results suggest that the excessive use of H2 blocker therapy in the long-term care setting responds to educational interventions with therapeutically appropriate reductions in utilization. Repeated interventions are necessary to maintain such reductions over time although there may be some reduction in the effectiveness of the intervention with repetition.