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Older adults in home health care at elevated risk for unsafe meds
Date:11/21/2011

NEW YORK (Nov. 21, 2011) -- Older adults receiving home health care may be taking a drug that is unsafe or ineffective for someone their age. In fact, nearly 40 percent of seniors receiving medical care from a home health agency are taking at least one prescription medication that is considered potentially inappropriate to seniors, a new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine has revealed.

The study's researchers, led by Dr. Yuhua Bao, assistant professor of public health at Weill Cornell Medical College, found that home health care patients aged 65 and over are prescribed Potentially Inappropriate Medications, or PIMs, at rates three times higher than patients who visit a medical office. The researchers' data shows that home health care patients are taking 11 medications on average, and that the concurrent use of multiple medications is a strong indicator of the presence of PIMs.

"Elderly patients receiving home health care are usually prescribed medications by a variety of physicians, and it's a great challenge for home health care nurses to deal with prescriptions from many sources," says Dr. Bao.

Still, she sees the home health care model offering potential for improving this situation. "Having a medical professional enter an elderly patient's home is an opportunity to do a proper medication review and reconciliation," Dr. Bao explains.

The study used data from the National Home and Hospice Care Survey, conducted in 2007 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is the most recent nationally representative epidemiological survey of home health patients. The 2002 Beers Criteria, an expert-panel-generated list that itemizes 77 medications or groups of medications considered inappropriate for elderly people, was the basis for the PIMs chosen.

In a review of data of 3,124 home health patients 65 years of age or older, the researchers found 38 percent were taking at least one P
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Contact: Takla Boujaoude
tab2016@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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