Did you know…the CDC reports that as many as 450,000 trips to the emergency room are made each year by older adults experiencing adverse medication issues? This startling statistic is due, in part, to “inappropriate prescribing.” Inappropriate prescriptions can include medications that duplicate the effect of another medicine that is already being taken, ineffective medications, and those prescribed without a clinical need or basis.
At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we know that one of the best ways to ensure the seniors you love avoid a prescription-related hospitalization is by scheduling a medication review for older adults with the doctor on at least an annual basis.
What’s Involved With a Medication Review?
First, you’ll want to contact the person’s primary care physician to find out if medication review services are offered. You may need to reach out to a geriatrician for assistance if the primary care doctor is unable to help.
Once you’ve secured an appointment with a trusted professional to perform the review, following this 5-step process can help you make the most of your visit.
- Prepare a list of all medications being taken. Be sure to include over-the-counter meds, vitamins, and supplements as well as prescriptions. Note the purpose of each medication, the dosage amount, how long the person has been taking the medication, and any unpleasant side effects they are experiencing.
- Document how well each medication is working. In particular, if a medication was recommended for troublesome symptoms, such as pain, incontinence, or depression, it’s important to know if the current treatment plan is effective or not. If it’s working well, is the current dose still ideal, or could it perhaps be tapered off? If it isn’t working, of course you’ll want to explore other options.
- Check the Beer’s list. The Beer’s list is updated every few years by the American Geriatrics Society and includes any medications that seniors should either avoid or use only with extreme caution. If the person is taking something known to be detrimental in some way to older adults, it’s important to discuss with the prescribing doctor whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
- Look for signs of over-treatment. It’s quite common for older individuals to be prescribed higher doses of medications than may be necessary. There are risks involved with over-treatment for many medications, including those for hypertension and diabetes. Taking too much medication to lower a senior’s blood pressure can lead to hypotension, causing lightheadedness or dizziness and an increased risk of falls. And too much insulin is linked to emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
- Explore drug interactions. Contraindications between medications can be easily checked online. Search for a free online drug interaction checker, enter the medications the person is taking, and then make note of any concerns to share with the doctor.
Taking these steps and then meeting with the doctor for a medication review for older adults is a great way to be proactive and advocate for the best health outcomes for those you love.
The referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care can help as well, by providing accompanied transportation services to medical appointments and procedures or to the pharmacy. They can also run errands, pick up prescriptions, and monitor for any adverse effects and report them immediately to help prevent hospitalizations and emergency room visits.
To learn more about the Florida home care services available through referred care providers and how partnering with American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care can improve safety and wellbeing for someone you love, contact the office nearest you.
- American In-Home Care – Serving North, Central, and West Coast of Florida
- Advocate In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
- Whitsyms In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661