According to a study by the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, more than 200,000 die each year from medication-related problems (MRPs), with another 2.2 million experiencing injury. Adverse drug reactions alone are between the fourth and sixth leading cause of death.
Because of advances in medical research and technology, powerful medications are more available now than ever. Taking the right medication, in the proper doses, at the correct time can be critical to maintaining one’s good health. This is especially true for seniors, whose risk of severe MRPs is generally higher due to the physiological changes that come with aging. In fact, adverse drug reactions and medication noncompliance are responsible for 28 percent of hospitalizations of the elderly.
More than 77 percent of seniors between the ages of 65 and 79 and more than 85 percent of those over the age of 80, suffer from one or more chronic diseases. The fact that a higher number of seniors are diagnosed with chronic disease contributes to their higher consumption of prescription medications compared to younger populations. Although seniors represent just over 13 percent of the U.S. population, they consume approximately 40 percent of prescription drugs and 35 percent of all over the counter drugs.
Along with the complications of taking multiple prescriptions, some of the physiological changes associated with aging that act as contributing factors to mismanagement of medication and risk of MRPs include:
- Cognitive impairments such as memory loss
- Lack of a primary caregiver to assist with medication administration
- Financial issues
- Lack of vision and comprehension of medication information
Senior Homecare Solutions
One of the most effective senior homecare solutions to preventing medication-related problems is for them to hire a private duty homecare agency to help. A senior homecare provider can:
- Provide medication management such as filling a pill box or setting patient up with a pre-filled medication system (one example is Accupax) for organization
- Provide reminders when it is time to take the medication and ensure that medication is taken as directed
- Monitor and report changes/concerns, etc. to family members or physician
- Help with physical issues and safety indirectly related to medications: i.e. client who needs to eat with pill, or need to use restroom regularly after taking a diuretic and require aide to ensure they get to restroom safely
A senior homecare provider should be a resource that you can refer patients and their families to anytime there is memory loss, a complex medication regimen, potential concerns or questions over whether medications are being taken properly after surgery or hospitalization. Learn more about how homecare providers can be a valuable resource to you and your patients – Contact us today.