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Polypharmacy is the effect of taking two or more medications to treat health problems. For example, taking medications to treat diabetes and hypertension. Polypharmacy is usually problematic and this can be seen when the patient takes too many medication from different health providers who are independent of one another. If appropriately used, medication can prolong life while the adverse effect of Polypharmacy can lead to the elderly patients developing problems.
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One of the ways in which Polypharmacy can occur is through having different health providers who do not completely know about the patient’s medication (Woodruff, 2015). Therefore, a risk factor for Polypharmacy is seeing several health providers. In order to alleviate such a problem, advanced nurse practitioner should research the medical background of a patient. A nurse practitioner should also keep information about a patient up to date. This avoids development of medication duplication and provides with the best treatment of patients.
Advanced nurse practitioners themselves can lead to Polypharmacy. One way they may do this is through the misconception that patients have to take with them a drug which may not be necessary. There can also be poor or inaccurate advice which can lead to patients taking the wrong medications (Hughes, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, & United States, 2012). Poor knowledge on drugs and failure to review the medications of a patient on regular basis can lead to Polypharmacy. A solution to this involves doing medication reviews. In this case, a nurse practitioner may be able to take multiple reviews (Hughes, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, & United States, 2012). He or she should provide the right information to the patient which can then be sent to patients using emails or texts to ensure that they have the needed information any time they require it. A nurse can use the assistance of a physician when administering complex medication. The idea is to reduce errors resulting from medication errors brought about by a nurse.
One of the effective methods of alleviating Polypharmacy is through the use of medication card which has a list of current medications in which one should adhere with. The list should be shared with the physician as well as other people involved and as a result the patients will be able to adhere with it. Review of a patient’s medication is also used to alleviate Polypharmacy. Studies show that 10 to 70 percent of medications given to the elderly were not appropriate (Madaffari, 2013).
Hughes, R., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, & United States. (2012). Patient safety and quality: An evidence-based handbook for nurses. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Madaffari, V. A. (2013). Implementation of a medication management improvement system for community- dwelling older adults. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 3(7). doi:10.5430/jnep.v3n7p85
Woodruff, K. (2015). Preventing polypharmacy in older adults. American Nurse Today, 5(10), 1-8.