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Older adults generally have the greatest use of medications and at the same time, suffer from adverse consequences associated with the use of these medications. These reasons include the concurrent use of multiple medications, changes in body physiology which requires special considerations for their medications, and the long-term use of medications which can lead to toxicity as well as micronutrient deficiencies which further harm their health.
By addressing negative health impacts on older adults from prescription medication and taking aggressive action to change prescribing and monitoring practices, we have the potential to save hundreds of lives in our region and prevent thousands of people from experiencing adverse outcomes.
We have worked to address medication safety in a number of ways, starting in 2020 with a planning grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. The planning phase, titled Healthy Aging (4M4ME), sought to address the alarming problem of medication overload by developing an implementation plan for reducing the instance of this issue in older adults.
The planning process involved the full engagement of cross-sectoral stakeholders and providers and
developed wide-reaching, evidence-based actions and new methods of analyzing and using data
related to medication overload. Specifically, the planning process resulted in an implementation plan focused addressing:
- Overprescribing to older adults and associated de-prescribing opportunities
- Medication induced toxicities and nutrient deficiencies
- Inappropriate selection of medications for older adults and effective use of the BEERS criteria.
We are working with stakeholders to develop strategies and steps for promoting awareness about the importance of medication safety, including:
- Education materials for patients, families and caregivers
- Advocating for the role of pharmacists in the patient’s primary care team
- Outreach and partnerships with several local senior networks and organizations
- Use of data to support individual provider practices
- Focusing on organizational policies and practices for reviewing medication needs, stopping where appropriate
Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical, Altarum, Ascension – St. Mary’s, Healthsource Saginaw, CMU College of Medicine, CMU Health Partners, Covenant HealthCare, Gene-5, Great Lakes Bay Health Center, Great Lakes Physicians Organization, Masonic Pathways, McLaren-Bay Region, Michigan Pharmacists Association, MidMichigan Health, Michigan Health Improvement Network (MIHIN), MiHIA, New Hope Village Assisted Living and Care, QuadMed, Region VII Area Agency on Aging, Midland County Senior Services, SVSU Nurse Practitioner Leadership, CVS Pharmacy, Meijer Pharmacies, Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS), Bay County Department on Aging, Saginaw County Commission on Aging, Isabella County Commission on Aging, and the Thumb Area Commission on Aging
Michigan Health Endowment Fund