Beware; your Medication can be harmful!

Because I’m a nurse, I may have a bit of ‘inside’ knowledge about things health-care related and medications is one of those subjects. 

Admit it; we’re going older. All  we need to do is think of what we were doing 10 years ago and compare the two times; it is likely that we take more medication than 10 years ago, our hair is grayer; I know, only your hairdresser knows for sure…”

Because we’re getting older, there are likely more health challenges, even though they may require only one pill a day. When I read this article, I was reminded of the fact that twice a week, I congregate with other seniors, who may have run into problems, simply because they’re not always taught what their condition is; or if they’re taught, they don’t always retain the information. Most prescribers do teach patients, but often, seniors are too intimidated by physicians that they’re afraid to ask questions if they don’t understand. I know that this has prevented seniors from getting needed drug therapies. Hopefully, pharmacists can offer that ‘last line of defense’ and answer questions that patients need.

Having a chronic illness provides some of us with a silver lining to that chronic illness-cloud; we likely know the medications we are prescribed and undestand the reasons for them.

 

Medicare Drug Programs Put Seniors and Disabled at Risk (via SBWire)

Medicare drug program doesn’t monitor prescribers San Francisco, CA — (SBWIRE) — 05/24/2013 — An investigation by ProPublica has found that the Medicare program, while it does a great job of making sure elderly and disabled members get the medication they need, it does not monitor who prescribes…

Medicare Drug Programs Put Seniors and Disabled at Risk (via SBWire)

Medicare drug program doesn’t monitor prescribers San Francisco, CA — (SBWIRE) — 05/24/2013 — An investigation by ProPublica has found that the Medicare program, while it does a great job of making sure elderly and disabled members get the medication they need, it does not monitor who prescribes…

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4 Replies to “Beware; your Medication can be harmful!”

  1. I couldn't agree more that the prescriptions need to be monitored. My mom goes to at least 5 different doctors of whom all prescribe different meds., which cause her lots of side effects. Some I believe could be avoided. I'm not a doctor or nurse but investigate each medication I am prescribed and encourage others to do so.I ask the pharmacist if each new proscription can be taken with the others. Know when to take your meds and with what (food/ no food) and follow the directions. My mom couldn't believe the routine I go through with my medications (I take nine). Education my friends! Unfortunately many elderly don't/ can/t use computers. Medicare should monitor that for their and our safety.

  2. I'm sorry I didn't get back to you until now, but somehow your response escaped me! That is such a conundrum about monitoring prescriptions and making sure that they're taken safely, but who is going to do it? With Medicare running low on funds, somehow I don't think we can put the onus on them, and with fewer physicians, that means they're spread even more thin and I don't think we can count on them.

    Nurses try and advocate and teach (their primary role), but they get spread thin as all the healthcare dollars are squeezed rightly. That, unfairly leaves the families to 'punt' at something that they're not trained to do and shouldn't have to do.

    There was a time when we could count on the good 'ol doc to do everything for us and he'd set up medications for us in house calls if needs be. But the days of Marcus Welby are over and not going to be coming back; at least I don't see them on my radar screen. There's a whole generation of seniors who grew up knowing that dear, Dr. Welby would care for us from cradle to grave, but he's not around any more. So, where's the answer? As they age, seniors lose a lot of ability to retain sensory input, so I see this as a problem that will place not just this generation, but generations to come. Where does the onus of support come from? Do we turn some responsibility back to churches and communities?An obvious answer is that we take more responsibility for ourselves, but the simple fact of the matter is that as we age, our sensory perception decreases and forgetfulness (if not dementia) 'goes with the territory.'

    All of a sudden, "It takes a Village" takes on a new meaning; with your 9 meds and my 14, give me 15 years, and even though I'm computer savvy, I won't be able to keep track of mine and you'll forget a few yourself. What do we do? Some people would sa, don't take any more medications. But some are necessary. Insulin for the person with diabetes or anticonvulsants for the person with epilepsy come to mine…

  3. Many of those people who say we shouldn't take those medications because of the side effects or effects from long term use haven't walked in our shoes and must not really understand how they help. As I sat in my chair 10 years ago unable to move my sister-in-law pooh poohed my meds.She doesn't so much any more now that she sees how they help me survive.

    1. Frani, if I had a nickel for each doubting Thomas\’ who felt that all I needed was a regain diet or all I needed was to stop having tests, or stop taking medications (seriously, how will my epilepsy fare with no meds?) or (my personal favorite) \’get more exercise\’ (particularly walking) when I have osteonecrosis in ankles, heels, knees, hips, fibula.I can do exercises in the pool and arm-bike exercises, but weight-bearing? If they only knew that it wasn\’t as easy as saying JUST DO IT!

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