Solving a Serious Problem
Poor medication adherence is a pervasive problem, especially among seniors.
Medication adherence (or non-adherence) is very prevalent among seniors. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that 69% of medication-related hospital admissions every year are a result of poor medication adherence (Osterberg, Blascke, Adherence to Medication, Aug 4, 2005). In North America, almost 110,000 deaths per year are attributed to complications from poor medication adherence. It costs the US and Canadian health care systems $290 billion per year. The 2016 Health Care in Canada survey reported that more than 50% of patients 65 years and older do not take their medications as prescribed. There is no single cause of the problem. There are many reasons, which cross all socio-economic groups.
Top 3 most common factors that lead to poor adherence among seniors:
Seniors’ forgetfulness increases as they age. A change in daily routine can cause one to forget their medication. A change such as a move, the loss of a close friend or family member, or a change in medication can make one more forgetful. Stress and fatigue can exacerbate forgetfulness. In extreme situations, cognitive decline leads to non-adherence.
The cost of medication can be very expensive. This prompts some seniors to conserve the supply and make it last longer. Some seniors on fixed incomes are simply unable to afford their prescriptions on a consistent basis. Another aspect of cost is a risk-benefit perspective. Sometimes there is a perception that the cost of the medication outweighs the benefit, which leads to non-adherence.
3. Unpleasant Side Effects
Seniors may avoid medication due to worrisome, unpleasant side effects such as sedation, nausea or constipation.
There are many products on the market that attempt to help seniors manage their medication. CuePath is unique in its ability to dramatically improve medication adherence by providing products and services that engage the senior’s support network (family, caregiver, pharmacist) to address the seniors incidents of non-adherence.
23% of nursing home admissions are a result of non-adherence
Less than 50% of medications are taken as prescribed
Misuse of medications cost US healthcare system $213 billion annually