How Fairfax Caregivers Can Avoid Medications Mishaps for Seniors

June 13, 2011

Opening Pill BottleSeniors on multiple medications begin a slippery slope that can lead to disaster if their medications are not properly managed, according to a representative for the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP).

On average, seniors ages 85 and older take 34 prescriptions, including refills, per year, according to the ASCP. The average number of unique prescriptions for that group is 6.3. The 75 to 84 demographic is nearly as high with an average of just over 33 prescriptions per year and 6.7 unique prescriptions.

“Adverse drug reactions are very common and not always recognized by patient or physician as drug side effects,” said Thomas Clark, RPh, MHS, CGP, director of Clinical Affairs for the ASCP and the ASCP Foundation who served as expert source for the Answering the Call program. The program is designed to help adult children be better prepared for an emergency with their senior loved one.

The Home Instead Senior Care® network worked with Humana Points of Caregiving® to develop the Senior Emergency Kit, an information management tool to help Fairfax’s older adults and their families track medications in an effort to prevent problems. This toolkit provides family caregivers with everything they need to be prepared for an emergency. Following are the common types of medication-related problems from the ASCP:

  1. Untreated conditions – The patient has a medical condition that requires drug therapy, but is not receiving a drug for that condition.
  2. Drug use without indication – The patient is taking a medicine for no medically valid condition or reason.
  3. Improper drug selection – The patient’s medical condition is being treated with the wrong drug or a drug that is not the most appropriate for the special needs of the patient.
  4. Subtherapeutic dosage – The patient has a medical condition that is being treated with too little of the correct medication.
  5. Overdosage – The patient has a medical problem that is being treated with too much of the correct medication.
  6. Adverse drug reactions – The patient has a medical condition that is the result of an adverse drug reaction (ADR) or adverse effect. In the case of older adults, ADRs contribute to already existing geriatric problems such as falls, urinary incontinence, constipation and weight loss.
  7. Drug interactions – The patient has a medical condition that is the result of a drug interacting negatively with another drug or a food.
  8. Failure to receive medication – The patient has a medical condition that is the result of not receiving a medication due to economic, psychological, sociological or pharmaceutical reasons.

Check out Fairfax’s Senior Emergency Kit to learn more about the management tool. Have any questions? Share them with us below or on our Caregiver Forum.

Jason Sager, Owner Home Instead Senior Care Fairfax, Virginia

We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior who could benefit from our vast array of home care services in the Fairfax area , please call us at 703.750.6644, or email us. We accept most long term care insurance as payment and have a full time staff of trained and certified home care personnel covering the Fairfax County, Virginia area.

Alisa Meredith, Writer

Guest writer Alisa Meredith is a blogger and social media professional with Scalable Social Media. Every once in a while, someone at Home Instead does something that compels her to stop Tweeting and write something real! This is one of those times.

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