Home Care Agency Owners: 3 Ways to Combat Over-Medicalization in Seniors

Over-Medicalization in Seniors

Over-Medicalization in SeniorsAs a home care agency owner, you know firsthand how many medical appointments, procedures, tests, and medications inundate the lives of the elderly; and to quantify it, the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics recently determined that seniors are being prescribed more than 27 prescriptions for new medications each year! As seasoned veterans in the elder care industry, we thought it was important for you to know how this is impacting seniors, and how you, as an agency owner, can help.

In a recent Forbes article, Roy Beveridge, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Humana, outlines his firsthand experience with patients literally bringing shopping bags full of medications to him during appointments. He stresses the need for those working with the elderly to assist in ensuring that one primary care physician interfaces with the variety of specialists who may be prescribing medications and procedures.

prescribing medications

A second article written by Esther Heerema, MSW, Alzheimer’s & Dementia Expert with About Health, maintains that symptoms of disorientation, confusion, and memory loss so often associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia could actually be a result of drug-induced cognitive impairment. In fact, as many as 12 percent of those suffering from dementia-like conditions are instead experiencing the results of polypharmacy issues.

As a result of the data shared in these two articles, and our vast experience in the realm of aging care, we suggest the following 3 action items to help the seniors in your care better manage this epidemic:

  • Alert Clients: Communicate to clients the dangers of overmedication, and offer your services in correcting any potential issues.
  • Assess Medications: Schedule a time for a medical professional on staff (i.e. an RN) to sit down with the senior client and his or her family, and create a list of all prescription and OTC meds currently – and formerly – being taken.
  • Schedule Appointment: With the list in hand, have the RN or caregiver accompany the senior and any appointed family members to his or her primary care physician to review and come up with a plan to make any necessary adjustments.

Take steps today to improve the health and wellbeing of your senior clients, and contact us for more tips on staying up to date on the latest elder care trends.

My name is Jennifer Logullo, and I’m a multimedia writer with corecubed, an aging care marketing firm with a proven track record of delivering ROI marketing to aging care companies. In our commitment to ongoing continued education to stay at the forefront of marketing trends, I’m currently enrolled in Northwestern University’s Social Media Marketing program through Coursera. Follow corecubed on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, or contact us to learn more.