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Tech & Tools
Text Messaging Emergency Patients May Reduce Their Alcohol Consumption
Text messaging may be an effective way for healthcare providers to help young adults reduce heavy drinking, according to a study funded by a research grant by the Emergency Medicine Foundation.
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Editor's E-Note
With more people choosing to “age in place,” home healthcare is a growing option for long-term care. Even though home healthcare affords elders the comfort of aging in their own homes, it is not without its risks, some of them similar to the challenges faced with long-term care in residential facilities.

One of the most critical issues in long-term care, whether in home or in a residential facility, is medication management. This month’s E-News Exclusive reports on a study showing that home healthcare patients aged 65 and older are prescribed potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) at rates much higher than patients who visit a medical office.

Our exclusive examines potential reasons for this elevated risk and suggests that enhanced physician communication with home healthcare professionals can help reduce the risks of PIMs and that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in 2010 provides incentives to optimize coordination of care that can help prevent prescribing PIMs.

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— Marianne Mallon, editor
E-News Exclusive
Older Adults in Home Healthcare at Elevated Risk for Receiving Unsafe Meds

Older adults receiving home healthcare may be taking a drug that is unsafe or ineffective for someone their age. In fact, nearly 40% of elders receiving medical care from a home health agency are taking at least one prescription medication that is considered potentially inappropriate for them, a new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine has revealed.

The study's researchers, led by Yuhua Bao, PhD, an assistant professor of public health at Weill Cornell Medical College, found that home healthcare patients aged 65 and older are prescribed potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) at rates three times higher than patients who visit a medical office. The researchers' data show that home healthcare patients are taking 11 medications on average, and that the concurrent use of multiple medications is a strong indicator of the presence of PIMs.

“Elderly patients receiving home healthcare are usually prescribed medications by a variety of physicians, and it's a great challenge for home healthcare nurses to deal with prescriptions from many sources,” says Bao. Still, she sees the home healthcare model offering potential for improving this situation. “Having a medical professional enter an elderly patient's home is an opportunity to do a proper medication review and reconciliation,” Bao explains.

Full Story »
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Study: Moderate Amount of Hardship
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