Collaboration between therapy, nursing, pharmacy, and the physician is important as we work to provide the best possible care for our residents. Medication side effects and adverse reactions may impact the patient’s performance in therapy and the outcomes of therapy intervention, as well as the progression of the patient’s treatment plan. For this reason, therapists and therapy assistants must be knowledgeable of the medications taken by their patients, and the potential effects of these medications on function, safety, and the rehabilitation process. Important concepts the interdisciplinary team (IDT) should consider about medication include:
- Listening to residents about any concerns they have regarding medication side effects and consulting with the IDT regarding those concerns.
- Collaboration between therapy, nursing, and pharmacy for knowledge of what medications are given and when the medication is administered.
- Collaboration on timing of medication to either correlate with rehab treatment (e.g., pain medicine provided prior to therapy treatment session to allow resident to move more freely to get the most of out the exercises and activities) or to avoid therapy (e.g., potential change in schedule so that the medication that causes lethargy is given after the therapy session). Timing of resident’s therapy sessions may also need to be adjusted in order to receive optimal benefit.
- Therapy professionals may be integral to providing information on the resident’s response to medications and potential risks observed in various areas including falls, appetite/weight changes, swallowing difficulty, and cognition.
- Cohesive and consistent education provided to the resident, family, and other caregivers regarding specific medications and potential side effects.
Here is an example of IDT collaboration:
Many medications cause dizziness, especially in the geriatric population. This side effect may result in decreased balance and increased risk of falls. Knowledge of residents being on medications with these side effects may result in the following resident needs:
- Fall recovery techniques
- Patient/caregiver education to compensate for the dizziness
- Collaboration with nursing and pharmacy for knowledge of the time the medication is administered and planning treatment times accordingly
- Therapy professionals may also be integral to providing the physician and nurses with information on the patient’s tolerance for these groups of medications.
When we collaborate as a team, we provide the quality care our residents deserve.