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Reducing the risks of polypharmacy

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"Reducing the risks of polypharmacy"

Five tips for ‘deprescribing’ to improve resident quality of life

Medication management in nursing homes is complicated and time consuming. It can also be fraught with risks. 

Most nursing home residents take more than five medications daily. That makes them particularly vulnerable to the many consequences of polypharmacy, including contraindications, problems with medication adherence, errors in dispensing, functional declines and increased falls.

The medical community has long looked toward “deprescribing” as the solution. The deprescribing movement, however, has its own challenges. But there are some simple steps communities and providers can take to reduce side effects, ease staff workloads and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations.

  1. Change your philosophy. 
  2. Consider non-pharmacological alternatives
  3. Focus on the patient’s goals. 
  4. Consolidate medications — less is more. 
  5. Prioritize dosage management. 

Medication management is a continual process, and one that takes a group effort between clinical and pharmacy teams, residents, their families, their multiple doctors and community staff.

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