Safe Steps for Medicationsm

The adherence to a proper medication regimen is a challenge for many older adults. It has been found that as many as 55% of seniors are non-compliant with their medication regimen and at risk of adverse outcomes as a result. A recent study by the Center for Home Care Policy and Research found that during a course of a sixty day home care episode, nearly 25% of all patients age 65+ experienced one or more symptoms or signs related to their drug regimen.

There are many reasons that older adults have difficulty with medications. The sheer number of medications often complicates correct usage. We know that patients with chronic disease take as many as 6 to 8 medications daily with 20% taking 9 or more medications. More than 90% of older Americans have at least one chronic disease.

Also contributing to the challenges related to safe and simple medication management is the fact that patients are receiving prescriptions from different doctors treating different symptoms. When there are multiple providers treating a patient, there is an increased chance that harmful interactions or omissions will occur. Many times, instructions on how to take the medication are not explained, explained fully or explained in understandable terms. The older adult may not be compliant with the drug regimen due to poor vision, forgetfulness, confusion, fear of side effects, perceived non-efficacy, concern about cost and an inability to pick up the medication from a pharmacy.

The complications associated with medication mismanagement are numerous and include but, are not limited to:

  • Dizziness and imbalance
  • Weakness
  • Falls
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Visual impairment
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of appetite
  • Even death

Home Therapy of Austin, LLC is focusing on the issues and solutions to the challenges of medication management through our service, Safe Steps for Medicationsm. This multi-component program is designed to identify and address medication issues of individual patients. Two of the components are geared toward enhancing the communication with and between health care providers.

Safe Steps for Medicationsm Includes:

  1. A Patient Evaluation and Assessment of Compliance Ability
  2. Medication Reconciliation – A Medication Reconciliation Report is provided to the patient's physician/s. The Report documents the medication regimen before, during and after an acute care experience.
  3. Medication Discrepancy Report – The patient's referring physician receives immediate notification through this formal Report on any discrepancy or issue identified.
  4. Patient, Family and Caregiver Education – a five week series
  5. Personal Health Record – a document containing medical and medication information designed for use by the senior to facilitate information exchange and enhance collaboration among providers. The ultimate purpose is to help assure more efficient and effective health care services and outcomes for the patient.
  6. Medication Management Plan – an individual administration regimen using a provided 7 day medication planner or other mechanism if deemed more appropriate.
  7. Medication Monitoring and Tracking of Adverse Events – conducted by a Registered Nurse of Licensed Vocational Nurse
  8. Assistance with Medication Management Resources – involvement of a Medical Social Worker as needed to identify and access needed resources for ongoing assistance or alternatively Private Duty Medication Administration Services. Safe Steps for Seniorssm was designed with the Medicare-eligible home care patient in mind. Others interested in the Program should call Home Therapy Austin at the number below to discuss participation.

To learn more about Safe Steps for Medicationsm please call us at 512-637-1550.

To refer a patient, fax a signed physician order for "Skilled Nursing for Medication Assessment and Management" to 512-637-1551.