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Initiative Hopes to Reduce Medication-related Problems in Elderly

MacKenzie Kimball, for HealthLeaders Media, November 25, 2009

Medication-related problems are common among older adults, costing billions of dollars annually and reducing the quality of life for many individuals suffering from those issues. Unless something is done to address this issue, the prevalence of medication-related problems will most likely increase as the baby boomer generation ages.

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) has stepped up to the plate and in the fall of 2008 launched Campaign 2011, a multi-faceted initiative designed to raise awareness of medication-related problems in the elderly, educate seniors and caregivers about the appropriate use of medications, and take additional steps including educating policymakers to reduce medication-related problems.

"ASCP wants to make the public aware of these medication-related problems in older adults, especially as the first of the baby boomers enter the Medicare population in 2011, hence the name of our initiative," says Katharine Gavett, government affairs manager at ASCP in Alexandria, VA.

Medication-related problems are responsible for 28% of hospitalizations in the elderly and 23% of nursing home admissions and cost approximately 200 billion dollars a year, according to the Campaign 2011 brochure.

"If we can reduce the medication-related problems among older adults, we will improve their quality of life," Gavett says. "Saving healthcare dollars at the same time is a definite plus."

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