Polypharmacy and the Geriatric Population
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the aging population will continue to grow due to the falling fertility rates and the increases in life expectancy. However, this population has distinctive, demographic factors that may influence their adherence to medication necessities. Dynamics that affect medication regimen in the elderly can be related to “memory and cognition (forgetting to take medication), dexterity (unable to open medication or break pills in half), low literacy, concern about side effects (belief that side effects indicate a worsening of their condition), and a misunderstanding of disease”(Jackson, 2011/2012, p. 32). These issues can place more dependency on family and home health aids for medication adherence. Some geriatrics can have multiple providers, which leads to “polypharmacy” and ineffective communication about adverse effects. Socioeconomic factors can sway an elderly patient when deciding between fulfilling a prescription and spending limited income on other basic necessities. “Although older adults in the...
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...escription medications, vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and herbal medications. These patients should be closely monitored, especially after new drugs are prescribed and one medication should not be prescribed to treat the adverse effect of another. Another beneficial criteria to follow is the Stopp and Start Criteria, a “screening tool of older persons’ potentially inappropriate prescriptions and represent the most common avoidable instances of inappropriate prescribing in day-to-day clinical practice. Potentially inappropriate medications are significantly associated with avoidable adverse drug events that cause or contribute to urgent hospitalizations in older persons”(Pretorius, Gataric, Swedlund, & Miller, 2013, p. 334). Medication for minor symptoms that can be treated nonpharmacologically or by lowering the dose of the drug causing the adverse effects.
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