AIMS: The use of medication and information discharge summaries (MIDS) has become a standard procedure in many hospitals. We have evaluated if these summaries, together with in-patient pharmaceutical counselling backed up with a simple medicine reminder card, may help with the delivery of seamless pharmaceutical care. METHODS: Elderly patients prescribed more than four items discharged to their own home received the standard discharge policy including a recently introduced MIDS and medicine reminder card. Each patient's GP was sent a copy on discharge. Pre-discharge a pharmacist counselled study patients about their medicines and compliance. A research pharmacist visited patients in their home approximately 2-3 weeks and at 3 months post-discharge to determine their drug knowledge, compliance, home medicine stocks and any healthcare related events. RESULTS: Forty-three study and 40 control patients completed both visits. Their mean (s.d.) ages were 80.2 (5,7) and 81.1 (5,8) years and they were prescribed 7.1 (1.8) and 7.1 (2.3) items, respectively. At visit 1 knowledge (P < 0.01) and compliance (P < 0.001) was better in the study group. At visit 2 compliance had improved in the study group (P < 0.001). Unplanned visits to the GP and readmission to hospital amongst the study group were 19 and 5, respectively, which were both significantly less (P < 0.05) than 27 and 13 in the control group. At visit 2 for the study group the 24 unplanned GP visits and three re-admissions were significantly (P < 0.05) less than the respective 32 and 15 in the control group. At visit 1, two study group patients had altered their own medication compared with 10 control patients. At visit 2 these reduced to 0 and 4, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: In-patient pharmaceutical counselling, linked to a medication and information discharge summary and a medicine reminder card, contributed to better drug knowledge and compliance together with reduced unplanned visits to the doctor and re-admissions. A pharmaceutical domiciliary visit consolidated the improved healthcare outcomes.