According to Reuters Health, which reported on a study by from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago published in “Patient Education and Counseling,” miscommunication between healthcare providers and patient concerns over drug interactions lead to many seniors having an unnecessarily complicated medication regimen.
The report suggests that the more complicated the drug routine, the more likely doses and medications will be overlooked. For example, if a patient is prescribed three medicines that are each supposed to be taken twice per day, it’s likely they can be taken together each time.
The study’s team found that 85 of the participants – just over 42 percent – were following a medicine regimen that could be simplified. Of these, 53 participants, or more than one quarter, could cut the number of times they took their medicines by once per day; and 32 participants, or 16 percent, could reduce that number by at least two times each day.
“The team also identified the most common reasons for an overly complicated medication routine. One was patients’ concerns about interactions between food and medicines, and between different medicines. Another was misunderstanding medication instructions given to the participants by healthcare providers like pharmacists or physicians.”
Study authors recommend that patients should check with their doctor before changing the way they take their medicines, but the results of the study show the importance of a discussion between patients and providers about the logistics of taking necessary medicines.
A good way to start is for caregivers to spend the day with a loved one and review their drug regimen. If a patient is taking too many medications, or the regimen seems too complicated, a discussion should take place with a physician or pharmacist.
Our home health aides can play a role in medication management and help ensure compliance. Richard Ueberfluss, PT