Medications are the most common treatments used in health care, especially for the elderly. But if used improperly, they can cause serious and sometimes fatalities.
Globally, the cost of drug-related damage exceeds $ 40 billion annually with evidence reporting that in between Every month 5% and 20% of older people experience side effects. More than half of this damage is considered prevented.
The federal government recently announced funding for on-site pharmacists to improve the reception of medicines in public institutions for the care of the elderly, starting in January 2023.
Researchers from University of South Australia recently worked with 248 residents to care for the elderly in 39 nursing homes in South Australia and Tasmania to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention under the guidance of a pharmacist.
For 12 months, pharmacists met with residents every eight weeks to record any new diseases or conditions and track any adverse effects or symptoms. They also reviewed participants ’medications and monitored cognitive and physical health.
At each visit, pharmacists found that 60% of residents had problems with medication. They made 309 recommendations to change medicines to residents or to control their medicines for the purpose of change; and for almost two-thirds of the population, reduced drug use is recommended.
Importantly, the study showed a significant change in participants’ cognition rates, with those overseen by pharmacists less likely to experience adverse effects.
Leading Research Fellow UniSA Professor Libby Rughead says the study highlights the urgent need for additional pharmaceutical support in the care sector for the elderly.
“Medications are the most targeted medical intervention for the elderly, but they are also a catalyst for the concerns of many elderly residents,” Rughead said.
“People living in nursing homes are hoping for the support and care they receive, but previously residents only received review the medication every two years or earlier if required.
“Our study emphasizes the need for more personalized and ongoing support from pharmacists.”
Roughhead welcomed government funding for on-site pharmacists. This is a significant step forward, and the move should include holistic pharmaceutical support, with pharmacists focused on efforts to reduce drug harm, she said.
“It is important to realize that new on-site pharmacists will not only have to monitor and review medications, but also be able to recognize the early onset of deterioration caused by medications, such as changes in human cognition or activity to prevent harm. for example, traumatic falls or delirium.
“More comprehensive support will not only help avoid many of the health problems caused by medicine that older people are currently facing, but can also help prevent weakness and reduced cognition.”