Solving a Serious Problem
Poor medication adherence is pervasive among seniors
Medication mismanagement is very common problem 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.
World Health Organization: “80% of prescribed medications will be discarded during the patient’s first year of therapy.”
American Heart Association: “The #1 problem in treating illness today is the patient’s failure to take prescription medication correctly.”
Top 3 most common factors for poor adherence:
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.
Who Is Most At Risk?
Seniors that take daily medications, that also:
- Experience periods of forgetfulness
- Have a complex medication schedule
- Had a recent change in their medications/schedule
- Experienced a move or stressful life event
- Have a busy social schedule
- Have early stage Alzheimer’s or dementia
Why is Non-Adherence a Problem?
Failing to take medication at the prescribed times, or skipping doses, reduces the effectiveness of the medications. For some medications, not taking them at the correct intervals may make them completely ineffective or even exacerbate the disease. Your physician may compensate for low effectiveness by increasing the dose. Non-adherence often results in falls, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and other detrimental conditions.
Assisting a loved one with their medication adherence helps them:
- Manage their medications more effectively
- Stay healthier and independent longer
- Prevent medication-related emergencies.
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