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Elder Services & Medication Management

Apr 4, 2017 by Michael Grim

According to the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE), seniors make up just 13 percent of the American population, but they account for upwards of one-third of all prescription and non-prescription drug use, and over 40 percent of seniors over the age of 65 take five or more prescription medications each day. With so many medications being taken by one of our nation's most medically vulnerable groups, it would make sense that medication safety would be a top-priority. Yet, the NCPIE notes, "Almost 40 percent of seniors are unable to read prescription labels; 76 percent are unable to understand information given to them." Further, millions of other seniors do not follow drug regimens "due to forgetfulness or decisions to limit a medication(s) due to bothersome side effects, perceived non-efficacy, or cost."

 

In addition to not being able to read medication labels or purposely not following prescription instructions, many seniors face additional difficulty when it comes to medication management. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that "Most older adults—4 out of 5—live with one or more chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis or cancer." Often these conditions are accompanied by debilitating pain and/or a loss of mobility. As a result, opening standard pill bottles with arthritic hands, for example, may not be realistic.

Elder Services Available in Cherry Hill

It is the many challenges seniors face with medication management that makes this component of Comfort Keepers elder services so important. 

 

Medication management does not simply refer to the administration of medication. In fact, most non-medical elder services providers are not permitted to actually administer medication. Instead, medication management refers to the vast logistics that surrounds a senior's medication plan. Consider the following:

 

  • How many medications does the senior take?
  • When is each medication taken (morning, noon, night, 4 pm)?
  • How often are they taken (once a day, twice a day, etc.)?
  • How are they taken (liquid, capsule, topical, injection; with a meal, before a meal, after a meal)?
  • Is each medication "forever" or is there a time limit (10-days, until empty, etc.)?
  • How should they be stored (cool, dry place; refrigeration; mixed and then refrigerated)?

 

And this is just for the medications that are on-hand and ready to be taken. Consider these additional aspects to medication management oversight:

 

  • What are the medications for?
  • Who prescribed the medication?
  • When was the last time the prescriptions was checked/validated for accuracy or necessity?
  • Are all the medications current or are some near, at, or past expiration?
  • Where are the prescriptions filled?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • Are there any medications, supplements, foods, or drinks that should not be taken with the medication?

 

In short, medication management is serious business with very serious consequences if it is not done right. The good news is that Comfort Keepers elder services provide top-line medication management support and oversight 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information, call your Comfort Keepers client care coordinator today.

 

We offer leading in home care to seniors in:

Atco, Berlin, Cedar Brook, Cherry Hill, Collingswood, Columbus, Hainesport, Gibbsboro, Haddonfield, Jobs, Lawnside, Lumberton, Maple Shade Township, Medford, Mt. Laurel, Pemberton and Vorhees Township, NJ

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