Poor medication adherence set to trigger a tide of nursing home admissions: report

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Poor medication adherence set to trigger a tide of nursing home admissions: report
Poor medication adherence set to trigger a tide of nursing home admissions: report

Nearly 100 million Americans are not taking medications as prescribed, leading to unnecessary deaths, hospitalizations and nursing home admissions. This is creating an impending care crisis as the population ages, according to a new report from the National Council on Patient Information and Education.

Lack of medication adherence is associated with about 40% of nursing home admissions among those with type 2 diabetes, according to data cited in the report. Statistics such as this are “only the tip of the iceberg,” the report authors warn, noting that more than 90 million aging baby boomers soon will be at increased risk of Alzheimer's and a range of other conditions requiring multiple medications.

Unless action is taken now, lack of medication adherence will cause costs to skyrocket and health outcomes to deteriorate across the continuum of care, according to the report, which was presented Tuesday as “a nationwide call to action.” To create this report, the NCPIE brought together 22 professional societies, government organizations and other entities, including the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the American Medical Association, AARP and the National Council on Aging.

People with multiple chronic medical conditions are of particular concern, because they often take many medications. An estimated 81 million seniors will have multiple chronic conditions by 2020, up from 57 million in 2000, according to the report. Government data show that seniors with multiple chronic conditions accounted for 63% of Medicare's post-acute costs as of 2010, the report states.

The report offers 10 action points to improve medication adherence for this group. These include widespread adoption of the American Geriatrics Society's patient-centered care model for those with multiple diseases, which offers a “stepwise approach” to care that begins with eliciting patient preferences. The report also calls for accelerated adoption of health information technologies.

This “action agenda” builds on recommendations in NCPIE's 2007 report, “Enhancing Prescription Medicine Adherence: A National Action Plan.” Click here to access the new report.