Medication management presents a number of complex issues when caring for older adults. Older individuals are often faced with issues of polypharmacy due to multiple chronic conditions and being under the care of multiple providers. The risks associated with polypharmacy can lead to increased adverse effects and medication noncompliance. Patients may also be experiencing declines in the cognitive and physical abilities required for medication management, leading to increased risk of medication errors and ultimately, the need for assisted living.
These assessment tools can be used by physicians to inform clinical-decision making when prescribing medications for older adults. They highlight common problems and offer alternative treatment solutions.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-American Geriatrics Society- BEERS CRITERIA for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults, here. BEERS is a clinical tool created by the American Geriatrics Society intended for use by physicians to inform their decision making when prescribing medications for older adults.
STOPP-START (Screening Tool of Older People’s Prescriptions and Screening Tool to Alert to Right Treatment), here.
Agencies and Community Resources
Information on polypharmacy can be found through the following two agencies:
Center for Disease Control-Medication Safety Program
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Phone: (855) 543-3784
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Administration on Aging (AoA) collaborated to support the coordination of care between aging and behavioral health services for older adults. Read,"Older Americans Behavioral Health Issue Brief 5: Prescription Medication Misuse and Abuse Among Older Adults", here.
Medication Use in Older Adults - Dr. Linsey E. Brandt, Penn Medicine
Reducing elderly patients' medication noncompliance - Advisory Board, 2007 Frontline Impact Award Winner: Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center