Polypharmacy in the Elderly

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Polypharmacy in the Elderly
Courtney Lopez
Western Governors University

Polypharmacy in the Elderly
I. Introduction

a. Audience hook: John, an 85 year old man is admitted into the emergency room with a heart rate of 40, and complaints of dizziness and weakness for several days. Nancy RN is the nurse taking care of John when he is brought in. Upon reviewing Johns’ medications, Nancy is aware that there are two prescriptions for the same beta blocker each with a different dose and frequency, among six other prescriptions. When questioned about his medications, John states "he takes two different medications for his heart with some other pills, but doesn’t know the name of the medication or the dose." John is diagnosed with a beta blocker overdose. After four days in the ICU, John is feeling much better now, with normal vital signs and a better knowledge of his medications, and will be transferred to a telemetry floor for continued care. b. Thesis statement: Polypharmacy in the elderly population can be reduced by early discharge education in the inpatient setting, along with the use of drug combinations or extended release medications to lower the frequency, amounts, and financial burden incurred by this population. c. Main points: 1. Multiple dosing changes and frequency of medications can cause confusion, adverse reactions, and noncompliance. 2. Education during hospitalization can decrease recurrence of repeat hospitalization.

II. Polypharmacy is the taking of more than five medications at one time.
Show visual aid (Buggey, T. 2007, Summer).

a. Elderly patients often develop complicated and multifactorial health states that require extensive pharmacotherapy, leaving this population at risk for exposure to drug-drug interactions and other adverse events. (Slabaugh, 2010). i. Previous literature supports an association…...

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