Medication Compliance Research Paper

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Population and Global Health: Medication Adherence in Seniors

Assess the preventive and protective healthcare needs of a community of individuals, including emergency preparedness. Develop a plan for using behavioral change techniques to promote optimum health of a community, include culturally and spiritually sensitive care.

Describe the population/community you have chosen

The elderly are an incredibly high needs population when it comes to the field of professional medicine: they are consistently under-served and struggle very often to get even their most basic health needs met. One of the particular issues that prevents this population from staying healthy is the issue of medication adherence. A lack of proper medication adherence can cause a range of complicated issues and all of these issues are highly preventable: the individual just needs to stay on their medication. Medication adherence in seniors greater than 60 years of age is a primary factor for preventing serious complications from chronic conditions (Ruppar, Conn, & Russel, 2008). Cognitive and physical changes comingled with additional risk factors such as living alone, unable to drive and limited incomes all contribute to a negative outcome for medication compliance (Harkness & DeMarco, 2012).

Moreover, issues like cultural and spiritual beliefs perceived about healthcare can contribute to barriers to medication adherence. Many elderly lack education or and have multiple chronic conditions leading to higher rates of admissions and higher rates of death (Long, S.K., King, J., & Coughlin, T.A., 2006). This population deserves more attention because they're so vulnerable: The elderly are disproportionately at risk for accidental drug overdoses, falls and readmission to the hospital. Furthermore, seniors are more likely to suffer from adverse drug responses from prescription medications complicated by complex drug regiments. With increasing age, many elderly have difficulty understanding due to hearing loss, seeing difficulties and knowledge deficits (Harkness & DeMarco, 2012). Thus, it is absolutely apparent that a strong system needs to be in place to ensure that the members of this population are able to feel comfortable staying on their medication and feel empowered to do so.

Assess preventative/protective health care needs of a population from different data sources and observations.

One of the obstacles in place that prevent many seniors from adhering to their medication is the fact that today many elderly are taking multiple medications for various chronic illnesses. However, the ability to modify this and other risk factors while providing a network of caring healthcare individuals and volunteers can help the elderly, allowing them to receive the medical care they need and to take their medications in a consistent manner. Adherence to medication is one major part of a multi-faceted plan of health that can allow individuals to receive the medical care and preventative care that they need, while nurses focus on disease prevention by showing elderly patients how to ascribe to better nutrition and through encourage them to join social events within the church or the community. Other studies have found that when pharmacies don't have automatic refills of prescriptions, this can create a lack of adherence to medications in seniors (Krousel-Wood,, 2009). Other studies have indicated that inappropriateness of medication can also be a factor in a lack of adherence to prescriptions for seniors (Viks et al., 2004). All of these obstacles are largely preventable for healthcare professionals: they can be eliminated and a strong support structure can be ascribed in place.

Select one health care need of a population/community from your assessment, develop, and present a plan for meeting that need.

Seniors are in need of effective education about the medications they take and potential side effects to increase medication compliance. The World Health Organization defines adherence as "The extent to which a person's behavior (taking medications, following a recommended diet and/or executing life-style changes) corresponds with the agreed recommendations of a health care provider" (Sabate, 2003, p. 13) (Ruppar et al., 2008, p. 115). Thus this problem is clearly the result of an epidemic of ignorance: one which causes a rush of readmissions to hospitals, with nurses needing to collaborate with other healthcare professionals and engage as liaisons for the doctors, caregivers, pharmacists, and other people. Nurses have so much potential for bridging this dangerous gap of ignorance as the power and wisdom of the nurse is so great: They can make home care visits and discuss medication regiments to the patient. They can screen and review…[continue]

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