An average senior between 60 to 69 years old is on 14* different medications and the number gradually increases. Patients in their 80's average 18 different medications. Many elderly patients don't understand why they're prescribed specific medications. They were raised to trust their doctors and follow instructions. They may also be easily confused so they are more likely than younger patients to keep refilling a medication they no longer need or fail to request a refill of something they should keep taking. The annual cost of medication related problems, such as hospitalizations for dangerous interactions, is over 177 billion dollars per year.
Medication Reconciliation has 5 steps:
- Develop a list of current medications
- Develop a list of medications to be prescribed
- Compare the medications and check for duplication of the same type of medication, omissions that can occur when a prescription was not refilled that should have been, and dangerous interactions.
- Make decisions and finalize the new medication list. This may include communicating with other providers if the change you would like to make affects a medication you have not prescribed. As a patient's medication list grows, the chances for fatal mistakes also increases. With multiple medications, they don't act alone so all medications, even those outside of your specialty must be taken into account.
- Communicate the new list to the patient, caregivers, and all other providers that they see. It's important that the patient has access to the new list and that it is sent to other providers so that when the patient is seen next in any office, the updated list is available to use to make decisions.
Many of those problems could be avoided with regular medication reconciliation so that all professionals involved with a particular patient's care are aware of all medications the patient is prescribed. The complex needs of seniors and people with chronic conditions calls for more reliable medication information than just whatever the patient remembers to tell you they are taking.
Contact us to discuss how we can help you protect your patients with an integrated care plan that includes medication reconciliation and a detailed understanding of how all providers are handling their care.
(*Stats taken from American Society of Consultant Pharmacists fact sheet)