What is TAPER?

Team Approach to Polypharmacy Evaluation and Reduction (TAPER) is a structured clinical pathway. TAPER aims to reduce the harmful effects of older adults taking too many medicines.

TAPER uses a team-based and person-focused approach. The patient works with their pharmacist and family physician to adjust their medicines to reflect their health priorities and stop any unnecessary medicines.

Together, the patient and their health care team will:

  • o Talk about health priorities and medicines
  • o Use evidence-based tools to check if the medicines could be harmful or no longer needed
  • o Make changes to the medicines (if needed)
  • o Monitor to see if these changes benefit the patient

The health care team uses a web-based tool called TaperMD to complete the steps above.

Our goal is to introduce TAPER as a part of the routine care older adults receive, helping to reduce medicine burden.

How does TAPER work?

1) COLLECTION OF INFORMATION

Patient shares their health priorities, functional goals, medication list and illness characteristics- which are all recorded in TaperMD.

2) PHARMACIST CONSULTATION

Pharmacist conducts a medication reconciliation, reviews patient priorities, and screens medication list for drugs that can be switched, reduced in dose, or discontinued.

3) PHYSICIAN CONSULTATION

Physician reviews pharmacist recommendations, patient priorities, and screens medication list for drugs that can be switched, reduced, or discontinued before finalizing a plan.

4) TAPER PLAN IS CREATED

Monitoring parameters and decisions are recorded in TaperMD. The resulting TAPER plan is faxed to the pharmacist, printed for the patient, and integrated into the electronic medical record.

5) ONGOING MONITORING

The TAPER plan is continually reevaluated as needed to reflect the patient’s evolving health goals and priorities.

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