OBJECTIVE: Oral medications are commonly used to treat acute and chronic conditions, but formal evaluation of a child's pill-swallowing ability rarely occurs. In this pilot study, the Pediatric Oral Medication Screener (POMS) was used to physically assess a child's pill swallowing ability and identify children who would benefit from a targeted intervention.
METHODS: We identified children 3 to 17 years old admitted to a general pediatric service over a 3-month period in 2014. Patients were asked to swallow several different-sized placebo formulations. If subjects did not meet age-based goals, they were referred for pill swallowing interventions (POMS+). Follow-up parental surveys were performed for patients completing the intervention.
RESULTS: The prospective pilot study recruited 34 patients. Twenty-eight patients (82%) passed the screening, and a majority of this group started or continued taking pill medications. Six did not pass the screen. Three of the 6 completed the intervention, improved their pill swallowing ability, and were taking oral pill medications at discharge. Parent prediction of pill swallowing was accurate only 56% of the time. Follow-up survey of the 3 families who completed POMS+ reported satisfaction with the program, and 2 of the patients had continued success with swallowing pills 5 months later.
CONCLUSIONS: The POMS was effective at identifying children who could benefit from an intervention to improve pill-swallowing ability. Our analysis demonstrated that POMS has the potential to improve patient satisfaction and discharge planning.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health