Home Health Patients at Higher Risk of Medication Interactions

Part of a doctor’s job is making sure his or her patient is not given the wrong medicines. Doctors make sure their patients are not on prescriptions that will interact badly with one another. They also make sure the drug dosages are correct and appropriate for their patients.

According to Health Day, patients who receive their medical care from a home health agency do not have this medication safety barrier. A recent study indicates almost 40% of senior citizens who have home health care are taking one or more medications that are either potentially unsafe or simply ineffective. In fact, a senior citizen who is treated by home health services is 3 times more likely to be taking a dangerous or unnecessary medicine than one seen in a doctor’s office.

The study indicates that at least part of the problem is home health nurses often have to reconcile prescriptions from multiple doctors. These doctors often do not know every medication a patient takes. The solution offered by study leader Dr. Yuhua Bao, Assistant Professor of Public health at Weill Cornell Medical College, is to have a doctor do periodic home health visits. This would allow for a routine review of medications and reduce the risk of a patient getting a bad medicine.


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