With a growing concern over the dangers of polypharmacy among the seniors population, the Illinois Department on Aging has begun a pilot project bringing pharmacists into the homes of older patients taking multiple medications.
According to research published in 2013 in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal, nearly a third of Canadian seniors over the age of 85 were taking more than 10 prescription medications, with an even higher incidence in nursing homes. Further research in 2014 uncovered that many of the drugs taken by older adults are not medically necessary and can lead to dangerous drug interactions and side effects such as confusion and balance problems.
Crain’s Business Chicago reported December 2 that as many as 2,000 Illinois seniors over the age of 60 who take five or more prescription medications daily will participate in a test program during which a pharmacist will visit them at home to review their medications. Most participants will have two or more chronic illnesses and will not be charged for the services.
The project is hoped to reduce the number of emergency room visits and hospital re-admissions and keep seniors living independently longer, avoiding or delaying a move to a nursing home or long-term care facility.
If you have a free membership to The Oldish, don’t forget to fill out your Medication Checklist found in the Toolkit. Keep it handy and take it to every doctor appointment.