Lynn Harrelson, R.Ph., FASCP, Senior Care Pharmacist
8302 Cheshire Way
Louisville, Kentucky 40222
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Kentucky chapter
Everyone who cares for todays’ seniors will eventually deal with the problems created by the medications that the seniors use. Some seniors have other watchful eyes on the medication they use. The general public is generally unaware that since Medicare was initiated in the mid-sixties that pharmacists have been federally mandated to review the medications of all Medicare patients residing in nursing homes or long term care facilities (LTCFs) across the country. Specially trained pharmacists review the use of each patient’s medications, how they are responding, train facility staff on proper dosing of medications, side-effect monitoring and documenting and they make recommendations to the prescriber for changes in orders or labs.
The role of the long term care pharmacist is extremely important in maximizing the benefits of the medicines that are used while avoiding or minimizing the risks from those same medicines. Today there are other pharmacists who provide that same detailed review and consults for seniors who continue to live independently in their community, in their home, at a retirement center or assisted living facility.
Today more seniors are taking increasing numbers of medications, these medications are more chemically complex. Seniors often use more than one physician and as they age, have many more medical conditions. Seniors also take non-prescription medications that a few years back required a prescription, counseling to assure better use and greater understanding of the side effects that could develop.
Studies have shown that if a senior takes 2 medications, the chances of a medication related problem is 6%, if they take 5, it’s 50%. If a senior takes more than eight medications, there is a 100% chance that they will experience a medication related problem. Eight (8) or more medications, that list of medications includes any prescription, non-prescription, over the counters, supplements, and nutritionals.
Although a medicine can make you feel better and maintain your health, we must be aware that all medicines have both benefits and risks. You are encouraged to visit my website for more details on medications related problems in the today’s seniors. Our first step in addressing this problematic issue is greater awareness of the problem.
If you need answers to your elder care questions, send your questions to us at:
Answers are provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners, some of America's TOP Elder Care Professionals who have years of experience in helping families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care / Senior Care Services.
All Q&A's are posted on the homepage of ElderCareMatters.com
If you help familes plan for or deal with elder care matters, then you owe it to yourself and to families across America to become a professional member of the National ElderCare Matters Alliance and to be listed on the many Elder Care / Senior Care Directories that are sponsored by this National Alliance of Elder Care Professionals.
For additional information about professional membership in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, (including the many benefits of becoming one of our ElderCare Matters Partners) and to download an Application for your Basic, Premium or Partner Membership in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, visit: ElderCare Matters Alliance.