weekly blog--one for the ages
Over the Thanksgiving holiday I had close encounters with two Lillian’s. The first one was with the centenarian that I’ve written about before who sits at my mother-in-law’s dinner table at the senior community in Connecticut.
Perky, upbeat and engaging as ever, Lillian came over to say hello while I was sitting at the newspaper table in the main lounge reading the Sunday New York Times. She grumbled about how awful the news had been lately, and then told me how pleased she was to have just sold one of her oil paintings. Afterward, she sat down beside me to read a section of the Times while waiting for the dining room to open for lunch.
My wife’s 82-year-old aunt was the second Lillian. She had just returned home from the hospital after experiencing an adverse reaction to a medication she was taking to treat cancer. Approximately 30 percent of hospital admissions of older adults are drug related, with more than 11 percent attributed to medication non-adherence, and 10-to-17 percent related to adverse drug events (ADEs).
Older adults who are discharged from the hospital that take more than five drugs are more likely to visit the emergency department and be re-hospitalized during the first six months after discharge. Experience from hundreds of healthcare organizations has shown that poor communication of medical information at critical transition points--admission, transfer, discharge--is responsible for as many as 50 percent of all medication errors, and up to 20 percent of ADEs.
Reducing the risk through Medication Reconciliation. Medication Reconciliation is the process of identifying the most accurate list of all medications a patient is taking--including name, dosage, frequency, and route--and using this list to provide correct medications for patients anywhere within the healthcare system.
According to the experts, no one has developed a fully scalable solution that pulls all of the required pieces together. However, technologies and processes are converging that will make this possible in the not too distant future.
Separately, are you interested in getting a taste of what it’s like to be old? Consider wearing an age simulation suit: http://www.age-simulation-suit.com.
Last Sunday, 60 Minutes profiled a small town in Colombia that is at the center of Alzheimer’s research. Here’s a shortened version of the story that was published a few years ago: http://www.everydayhealth.com/alzheimers/how-a-small-colombian-village-became-a-center-of-azheimers-research-5383.aspx