Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Adequate medication management is a focus of effective care that is often overlooked in caring for adults with comorbid psychiatric and physical conditions, especially in patients who are treated by multiple care providers and have a variety of health issues at the same time. The purpose of this project was to develop evidence-based policies and practice guidelines to reduce polypharmacy in elderly patients in a rural outpatient psychiatric clinic. Bandura's self-efficacy theory was used to inform the project for its value in assessing motivation, capacity for self-regulation, and perceptions of individual ability. An interdisciplinary team of stakeholders explored best practices for electronic health records (EHR) in a rural mental health facility, created policy and practice guidelines, and developed implementation and evaluation plans to guide the initiative as it moves forward. The team included physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, nursing support staff, social workers, and substance abuse counselors. The team explored approaches for implementing EHR-based medication management based on research in the current literature and goals/objectives of each department. Team members identified major issues and proposed guideline changes based on evidence in their own fields. The team then collaborated to develop policies and practice guidelines in a series of meetings designed to build consensus for supporting a unified set of products to be accepted by all departments. The resulting policies and practice guidelines are accompanied by plans for implementation and evaluation that provide the institution with a comprehensive solution to polypharmacy in elderly patients. This project may improve overall quality of care by reducing medication and preventing health complications related to polypharmacy.