Medication safety initiative for seniors shows promising results

Medication safety initiative for seniors shows promising results

OAKLAND, CA – February 20, 2014 – Adult Day Services Network of Alameda County (ADSNAC) just released 2013 results for an ongoing medication safety pilot program that launched in 2012. The program’s objective is to improve health and quality of life among seniors attending daytime adult care centers. For many older adults, the ability to manage a complicated medication regimen is key to being able to continue living at home. Mismanaged medications can lead to increased illness, emergency room visits,
hospitalization, and the need to enter a nursing home.

The 2013 program included 39 participants who were taking 10 or more daily medications, age 60+ (77% are over age 75), representing a cross section of ethnicities including Asian, African American, Hispanic, Hawaiian and Caucasian.

The program begins with a home visit by a social worker or nurse, and includes:

  1. A comprehensive, in-home inventory report of medications and discussions about adhering to the prescribed instructions, side effects, and other issues.
  2. A review and analysis of medications and adherence issues by a licensed pharmacist in light of the individual’s age, living situation and medical diagnoses. (ADSNAC partners with Touro University of California, College of Pharmacy.)
  3. Communication with the participant’s primary care physician about findings
  4. Family caregiver education regarding the proper disposal and use of medications

According to Anne Warner-Reitz, ADSNAC Executive Director, “The home visits are especially valuable. Staff often discover that participants are taking medications that were not on the list provided at enrollment. They also give us a better picture of the stress level on families around managing medications as well as other issues.”

2013 Key Findings:

  • Staff logged 419 medications, or an average of 11 per participant. 62% of participants disposed of old medications using the project supplied disposal mailers.
  • 80% of participants’ primary care physicians responded to the pharmacist’s reports, with 60% making a change in medications or scheduling a follow-up visit with their patient and 6% writing back that no changes were needed.
  • Daytime adult care center staff reported that as a result of medication changes, incontinence improved, as did blood pressures and blood sugars in some participants.

“The program is off to a good start this year, with plans to serve an additional 40 older adults in 2014. Outcomes such as blood sugar and blood pressure changes will be tracked even more carefully to get a better sense of impact,” added Warner-Reitz.

In addition to grants and government funding, ADSNAC relies on fundraising to support current programs and to implement new services. This year’s annual fundraising benefit Toward a Decent Society features Robert Reich as the keynote speaker on April 10, 2014 at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley. “This promises to be a thought-provoking event that will enrich our community conversation around aging, health, and the economy,” said ADSNAC Board President, Joanne Haase. Tickets are on sale now and the
event is expected to sell out.

Robert Reich is a professor, best-selling author, former Secretary of Labor, and the inspired voice of the award-winning movie, “Inequality for All.”

Adult Day Services Network of Alameda County consists of 13 centers that provide daytime care for seniors and adults with disabilities. Each of the centers offers a safe, social and enriching environment with health and support services to individuals, caregivers and health professionals.

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