“My uncle takes a fistful of medications every day. I don’t think he even knows what he takes, why he takes it, or if it is even effective. Help!” – Belinda from Stockbridge, GA

Unfortunately, your statement is not unique for many families that contact our company.

Polypharmacy is defined as “the simultaneous use of multiple drugs by a single patient, for one or more conditions.” Studies show that one third of people between the ages of 57-85 take at least 5 prescriptions.  Those with chronic illnesses can take as many as 20 or more. The most I’ve ever personally witnessed was 39 medications by one person!

This is a complex issue that needs to be properly managed, assessed, discussed, and frequently evaluated.

We, as Geriatric Care Managers, are frequently asked to assist families in taking on this task with clients, their families, their physicians, and pharmacists to provide our best (and most educated) attempt to reduce unnecessary medications, analyze side effects, and reduce risks. We often will consult with an objective Certified Geriatric Pharmacist to further provide thorough analysis through their specific expertise.

The need is often much greater than just sorting pills out in a pill box – however, this is too frequently the only method utilized by families for managing their loved one’s medications. Increased analysis can promote increased quality of life, ideal symptom management, reduction of costs, and hopefully bring that “fistful” down to something sensible.

Wishing the best to you and yours!


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