New York University researchers conducted a study to determine the impact that complex medication regimens could have on the lives of aging adults. There are several factors that could complicate health and safety for elderly men and women who are required or recommended to take various prescription medications at different times throughout the day or throughout a specified period of time.
High risk patients will often require more medications, which can certainly complicate things for them, especially if they have trouble keeping track of when they are to take those medicines, how many pills or the proper dosage, and so forth.
Another complication involves communication breakdowns and challenges. When there are numerous providers, including doctors and other medical professionals involved in caring for these aging seniors, it becomes increasingly important to have one pharmacist instead of a series of pharmacists to help ensure there won’t be complications between different medications.
Also, researchers found that when seniors are taking complicated medication regimens, having proper support and keeping them organized can be an important factor for safety. That’s where home care could become an integral part of their long-term health and safety.
As noted by a New York University press release titled, Complex Medication Regimens Create Challenges for Home Health Care:
“Older adults are more likely to be taking multiple medications, creating complex drug regimens. These regimens vary in complexity based on the number of medications, the dosages and frequencies of those medications, and any special instructions related to taking them as ordered. Increased medication complexity can impair patients’ abilities to take their medications as directed and raises their risk for hospital admission, readmission, and adverse events.
Home health agencies provide person-centered care for patients in their homes, often through the use of interdisciplinary clinical teams of nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, home health aides, and social workers. Medication management is a primary service provided by home care.”
Not all home care services can provide adequate tools to maintain medication safety. Only licensed and/or certified individuals are legally permitted to handle prescription medications, and that does not include all home care aides. However, home health care providers who are certified or visiting nurses could help aging seniors keep their medications organized properly.
For an elderly man or woman who has an army of prescription bottles congesting their medicine cabinet, the process can feel overwhelming. Having a professional, experienced individual assisting them can certainly improve safety, even if they don’t require other physical assistance at the time.