Avoiding Prescription Problems

Prescription drugs are one of the 'trouble points' in medicine today. Take a look at some of the problems, and how to avoid them.

You may assume the prescription you get from your medical provider is correct, but it turns out that one of the biggest issues in medicine today, is making sure that prescriptions work. And, there are lots of reasons:

>The person who gets the prescription needs to use it, as prescribed.

>The drugs need to do what the prescriber intended. They may not, for a variety of reasons, including that the person is taking other substances that interfere. Many people do not include vitamins or supplements when they list 'medicines' they're taking, and even over the counter medications have an effect. And you may not be the same: Dr. Elizabeth Feldman, a resident at Upstate University Hospital who is specializing in geriatric pharmacology (a growing area of concern) says that as you age, your body chemistry changes, which could also have an effect on effectiveness.

One of the critical points is when a person is discharged from the hospital, and goes to a different kind of care. There can be confusion over the discharging doctors' orders, confusion over where to get the required medications and confusion over when and how to take the 'new drugs' St. Joseph's Hospital has expanded its home healthcare outreach, with 200 medical professionals in several specialties that make home visits to ensure the patient's continuing health.

We went along with Michelle Chase, a registered nurse and case manager, who visits 4 to 6 patients in their homes in the Syracuse area, daily. She does basic physicals, makes sure all is going according to plan, and in the case of at least one of her patients, sorts pills into compartmented containers that help him to remember what to take, at what time and what day of the week.

There is no 'cookie cutter' solution to making sure the health continuum works, but As St Joseph's/Trinity Healthcare's Joseph Nicoletti told us, correct medicine and correct care are key parts of it.

The personalized outreach may seem expensive, but it's less costly than return visits to the hospital. And, especially for seniors, it's a way to maintain independence, and to age in place.

For one of the patients we visited, it's also a way to hold onto something valuable: if he were institutionalized, he could not take his dog with him. So, getting his life-sustaining medications right, lead to a quality of life

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