Publication Date

1-1-1997

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Jayne Cohen

Second Advisor

M.J. Henderson

Abstract

Currently 12% of the population are over the age of 65 and receive more than one third of all prescription medications. These clients are at risk for polypharmacy which defined in the current literature is greater than four or more medications taken on a daily basis (this includes prescription and over the counter (OTC) medications). Polypharmacy places a client at increased risk for adverse drug reactions which can lead to injury and death. This survey of 109 Nurse Practitioners (NPs) identified whether older adults were assessed for polypharmacy. The number of respondents was 64, or 59%. During routine history and physicals 94 % of the NPs asked their clients about prescription medications. Eighty one to eighty six percent inquired about at least five commonly used OTC medications and tobacco use. Ninety two percent asked clients if they knew how and when to take a particular medication, yet only 50% asked clients if they knew which side effects to report; whether or not they could afford a prescription; or who was actually responsible for administering a medication. This study identified interventions that when applied to the NP' s practice can decrease the incidence of polypharmacy in the older adult.

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