You might think the headline is crazy. But it isn’t, and here’s why:
In the United States, 28% of all hospitalizations of people over the age of 65 happen because of adverse reactions to prescription drugs. And, 1.5 million Americans are sickened, injured or killed by errors prescribing, dispensing and taking medications – and seniors are the most susceptible.
However, DailyMed is a revolutionary medication-dispensing system that helps solve these serious issues.
How does DailyMed work? The system transfers prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and vitamins from a consumer’s present pharmacy and organizes them into pre-sorted packets, clearly marked with the date and time they should be taken. An entire 30-day supply of medications is conveniently delivered to a person’s home in a dispensing box (a simple, easy-to-handle box), simplifying medication managment for patients or their caregivers to ensure the right doses are taken at the right times.
Most medication-management systems are large machines that require a medical professional to fill, and might take an advanced degree to figure out. Seniors want simple solutions, not a large, complex piece of hardware.
DailyMed is filled by pharmacists, and shipped right to your door in easy-to-read packets.
1. Adverse drug reactions are the 4th-largest cause of death among the elderly.
2. Medication errors cost the U.S. healthcare system in excess of $177 billion.
3. Seniors make up 13% of the U.S. population, but take 40% of all prescription drugs.
Elder abuse is any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person. It is generally divided into the following categories:
• Physical abuse is physical force that results in bodily injury, pain, or impairment. It includes assault, battery, and inappropriate restraint.
• Sexual abuse is non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an older person.
• Domestic violence is an escalating pattern of violence by an intimate partner where the violence is used to exercise power and control.
• Psychological abuse is the willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, or other verbal or nonverbal conduct.
• Financial abuse is the illegal or improper use of an older person’s funds, property, or resources.
• Neglect is the failure of a caregiver to fulfill his or her care giving responsibilities. Self-neglect is failure to provide for one’s own essential needs.
How big a problem is it?
Although estimates vary, it is generally believed that 4-6% of the elderly are abused.
According to the National Incidence Study on Elder Abuse, approximately 450,000 elderly experienced abuse in 1996 nationwide. If self-neglect is included, the number is 551,000.
How serious a problem is it?
The personal losses associated with abuse can be devastating and include the loss of independence, homes, life savings, health, dignity, and security.
Victims of abuse have been shown to have shorter expectancies than non-abused older people.
Mark, a family caregiver, visited the CRC to pick up a transfer bench for his elderly mother who was in physical therapy. We began to talk about the importance of transfer benches, and soon discovered that Mark and his mother were evacuees from Hurricane Gustav. Mark’s home in Galveston was completely destroyed—police wouldn’t let him return for three or four weeks after the storm, and when he returned he found his furniture covered with mold and most of his personal property ruined.
Mark brought his mother to Austin, and they stayed in a hotel while the city of Galveston was evacuated. In the hotel, his mother slipped in the shower and fractured her spine. Mark had to take off work for three months to help his mother, and told us that she is still afraid to take a shower because of what happened when she fell last year.
We hope that the transfer bench from AGE’s lending closet will make Mark’s mother feel safe and enable her to take a shower without risks or fear. Bathtub transfer benches are simple pieces of equipment, but they can really make a difference for those who need them.
The Caregiver Resource Center & Durable Medical Equipment Lending Closet serves seniors, adults with disabilities, their caregivers, families and health care providers with equipment, information, consultation, guidance and support. In 2008, the CRC provided over 700 pieces of equipment to low-income elderly or disabled Central Texans.