Polypharmacy and hospitalization among older home care patients.
ABSTRACT One of the major goals of home care is the prevention of hospitalization. The objective of this study was to examine the relation between medication use (number, type, and inappropriateness) and hospitalization among home care patients older than 65 years.
A retrospective chart review of 833 discharged older home care patients was performed. These patients were consecutive discharges from a single home care agency who either (a) returned to independent self-care or care of the family (S/F Care group) or (b) were admitted to the hospital (Hospitalized group). Medication assessment within these two groups included total number of medications (prescription and nonprescription); degree of polypharmacy (percentage of patients taking 5 or more, 7 or more, and 10 or more medications); and prevalence for different types of medications, including different types of inappropriate medications. Inappropriate medications were designated according to a list that was previously developed through a modified Delphi consensus technique by a panel of 13 experts in geriatric pharmacology and has been utilized in other studies. Student's t test was used for continuous variables and chi-square test was used for categorical variables to evaluate for differences between the S/F Care group and the Hospitalized group (p <.05). For comparisons of types of medications, p < .01 was used for significant differences, because of the high number of comparisons made.
Of 833 discharges, 644 (77.3%) returned to self-care or care of the Family (S/F Care group) and 189 (22.7%) were hospitalized. The Hospitalized group, compared with the S/F Care group, was taking a higher number of medications (mean +/- SD: 6.6+/-3.9 vs 5.7+/-3.4, p = .004), and had a higher percentage of patients taking 7 or more medications (46% vs 26%, p = .002) and 10 or more medications (21% vs 10%, p = .005), but not 5 or more medications. Only three types of medications were more commonly used among patients in the Hospitalized group than among patients in the S/F Care group: clonidine (4.2% vs 1.1%, p = .004); mineral supplements (23.8% vs 14.8%, p = .003); and metoclopramide (5.8% vs 2.0%, p = .006). The Hospitalized group had a lower percentage of patients taking inappropriate medications than did the S/F Care group (20% vs 27%, p = .040), but none of the types of inappropriate medications was used more often in either group.
This study shows a relationship between high levels of polypharmacy and hospitalization. Although it cannot be determined from this study whether a higher number of medications was an indicator of sicker patients at risk for hospitalization, or whether a higher number of medications might have directly led to hospitalization, polypharmacy should still be considered a marker for older home care patients for whom prevention of hospitalization is the goal.
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ABSTRACT: Medication changes at transitions of care and polypharmacy are growing concerns that adversely impact optimal drug use. We aimed to describe transitions and patterns of medication use before and 1 year after older patients were hospitalized for community-acquired pneumonia, the second-most common reason for admission in North America. This was an analysis of a population-based clinical registry of patients treated in any of the six hospitals or seven emergency departments in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, comprising 2,105 patients 65 years and older with community-acquired pneumonia who had survived at least 1 year. The prevalence of polypharmacy (five or more unique prescription drugs), as well as new use and persistence of common drug classes were assessed. The mean age was 78 years (standard deviation 8 years), 50% were female, 62% were hospitalized, and 58% had severe pneumonia. Among the 2,105 patients, 949 (45%) were using five or more medications prior to hospitalization, increasing to 1,559 (74%) within 90 days postdischarge and remaining over 70% at 1 year. Overall, 1,690 (80%) patients newly started and 1,553 (74%) patients stopped at least one medication in the first 90 days of follow-up. The prevalence of the most common drug classes (ie, cardiovascular, alimentary/metabolism) remained stable, with the exception of anti-infective agents, whereby 25% of patients were dispensed an anti-infective agent 3 months to 1 year after hospitalization. Most older patients with pneumonia are subject to polypharmacy, and almost every patient had a medication started or stopped during 1-year follow-up, with 25% using antibiotics again. The period following an episode of pneumonia represents an opportunity potentially to optimize pharmacotherapy.Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management 01/2014; 10:189-96. · 1.34 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Medication for elderly patients is often complex and problematic. Several criteria for classifying inappropriate prescribing exist. In 2010, the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare published the document "Indicators of appropriate drug therapy in the elderly" as a guideline for improving prescribing for the elderly. The aim of this study was to assess trends in the prescription of inappropriate drug therapy in the elderly in Sweden from 2006 to 2013 using national quality indicators for drug treatment. Individual-based data on dispensed prescription drugs for the entire Swedish population aged ≥65 years during eight 3-month periods from 2006 to 2013 were accumulated. The data were extracted from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register. Eight drug-specific quality indicators were monitored. For the entire population studied (n = 1,828,283 in 2013), six of the eight indicators showed an improvement according to the guidelines; the remaining two indicators (drugs with anticholinergic effects and excessive polypharmacy) remained relatively unchanged. For the subgroup aged 65-74 years, three indicators showed an improvement, four indicators remained relatively unchanged (e.g. propiomazine, and oxazepam) and one showed an undesirable trend (anticholinergic drugs) according to guidelines. For the older group (aged ≥75 years), all indicators except excessive polypharmacy showed improvement. According to the quality indicators used, the extent of inappropriate drug therapy in the elderly decreased from 2006 to 2013 in Sweden. Thus, prescribers appear to be more likely to change their prescribing patterns for the elderly than previously assumed.Drugs & Aging 04/2014; · 2.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality. With the ageing population, the prognostic determinants among others include frailty, health status, disability, and cognition. These constructs are seldom measured and factored into clinical decision-making or evaluation of the prognosis of these at-risk older adults, especially as it relates to high-risk interventions. Addressing this need effectively requires increased awareness and their recognition by the treating cardiologists, their incorporation into risk prediction models when treating an elderly patient with underlying complex CVD, and timely referral for comprehensive geriatric management. Simple measures such as gait speed, the Fried score, or the Rockwood Clinical Frailty Scale can be used to assess frailty as part of routine care of elderly patients with CVD. This review examines the prevalence and outcomes associated with frailty with special emphasis in patients with CVD.European Heart Journal 05/2014; · 14.72 Impact Factor