Category Archives: Prescriptions

Pennsylvania Launches Website to Help Seniors and People with Disabilities Find Services Near Home

Harrisburg, PA – Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf announced the launch of the Pennsylvania Link to Community Care website, which connects older Pennsylvanians and individuals with a disability or behavioral health need to services and support available in their community.

The Pennsylvania Link to Community Care website provides users with a wide variety of resources including a home care directory and an information referral tool.

“We have been working hard to help individuals with a disability and older Pennsylvanians to live where and how they choose, just as any of us would want,” Governor Wolf said. “This new website is a tremendous tool to help you or your loved one make the best and most informed decision about care and services.”

The website is a collaboration between the departments of Aging (PDA) and Human Services (DHS), and serves as an extension of PDA’s Aging and Disability Resource call center. With this online resource the commonwealth is adding to its continuing efforts to help Pennsylvanians locate and get the best use of services at the local level.

“Our capacity to link seniors and their families with community resources is critical to helping them live and age well at home,” said Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne. “Today’s launch empowers older Pennsylvanians and their caregivers to proactively explore the service options that are available to them as they seek to remain independent and age in place.”

The site features 12 service and support categories, including Advocacy, Behavioral Health, Employment, Finance, Health Care, Housing, In-Home Services, Legal, Meals, Protection from Abuse, Support Groups, and Transportation.

Users can find information about organizations, services, and programs within these categories. One major component to the site is its home care directory, which connects individuals to in-home services available in their county. More than 350 in-home service providers appearing on the searchable directory may offer personal care, assistance with activities of daily living, companionship services, respite care, and/or habilitation services.

“We are committed to serving Pennsylvanians where they want to be – in their homes and communities,” said DHS Acting Secretary Teresa Miller. “This website is a great resource to connect an individual to the services they need to provide a choice in where they live.”

Following the launch of Pennsylvania Link to Community Care, the departments of Aging and Human Services will continue to enhance the website using data and feedback from users, and expand the resources and information provided throughout the site. If you are a provider licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and would like to appear on the home care directory, you may submit your information by navigating to the footer of the site and clicking on “Apply.”

To learn more about the Pennsylvania Link to Community Care website, or to find information on resources available in your county, visit www.carelink.pa.gov.

“Drug Companies Make Eyedrops Too Big — And You Pay for the Waste” – ProPublica

“The makers of cancer drugs also make vials with too much medication for many patients. The excess drugs are tossed in the trash — another reason health care costs are so high.”

eyedrops-waste-3x2Gregory Matthews, who is partially blind because of glaucoma, uses eyedrops every day to preserve his remaining sight. (Matt Roth for ProPublica)

by Marshall Allen

“If you’ve ever put in an eyedrop, some of it has almost certainly spilled onto your eyelid or cheek.

“The good news is the mess doesn’t necessarily mean you missed. The bad news is that medicine you wiped off your face is wasted by design — and it’s well-known to the drug companies that make the drops.

“Eyedrops overflow our eyes because drug companies make the typical drop — from pricey glaucoma drugs to a cheap bottle of Visine — larger than a human eye can hold. Some are so large that if they were pills, every time you swallowed one, you’d toss another in the garbage.

“The waste frustrates glaucoma experts like Dr. Alan Robin, whose patients struggle to make pricey bottles of drops last. He has urged drug companies to move to smaller drops — to no avail.”

Click here to read this ProPublica article in its entirety.

 

 

“The little red pill being pushed on the elderly | CNN investigation exposes inappropriate use of drug in nursing homes”

red pills

 

by Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken; Data analysis by Sergio Hernandez, CNN Investigates

“The maker of a little red pill intended to treat a rare condition is raking in hundreds of millions of dollars a year as it aggressively targets frail and elderly nursing home residents for whom the drug may be unnecessary or even unsafe, a CNN investigation has found.

“And much of the money is coming straight from the federal government. The pill, called Nuedexta, is approved to treat a disorder marked by sudden and uncontrollable laughing or crying — known as pseudobulbar affect, or PBA. This condition afflicts less than 1% of all Americans, based on a calculation using the drugmaker’s own figures, and it is most commonly associated with people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

Continue reading this CNN report, click here.

“Dying At Home In An Opioid Crisis: Hospices Grapple With Stolen Meds” – California Healthline

handpillbottle

“Nothing seemed to help the patient — and hospice staff didn’t know why.

“They sent home more painkillers for weeks. But the elderly woman, who had severe dementia and incurable breast cancer, kept calling out in pain.

“The answer came when the woman’s daughter, who was taking care of her at home, showed up in the emergency room with a life-threatening overdose of morphine and oxycodone. It turned out she was high on her mother’s medications, stolen from the hospice-issued stash.

“Dr. Leslie Blackhall handled that case and two others at the University of Virginia’s palliative care clinic, and uncovered a wider problem: As more people die at home on hospice, some of the powerful, addictive drugs they are prescribed are ending up in the wrong hands.”

Continue reading this article in its entirety at California Healthline.

“In one night, she lost two sons to opioids.” – STAT News

A Mom “is on a mission to spare others that unfathomable pain.”

opioid loss familyJustin, Nick, Matthew, and Jack Savage (from left) with their parents, Becky and Mike Savage, in Siesta Key, Fla., where the family regularly vacationed.

by Megan Thielking

“RANGER, Ind. — Becky Savage always starts her talks to students and parents the same way. She shows them pictures of her teenage sons, Nick and Jack, who loved hockey, Taco Bell, and late-night hangouts.

“Then, she tells them what happened on June 14, 2015.

“Savage was picking up dirty clothes from 18-year-old Jack’s room that Sunday morning. He was sleeping in after a night of graduation parties with Nick and other friends. Jack didn’t respond as she picked up his laundry. She shook him, but he didn’t wake up. She knew to check his pulse — she’s a nurse. He didn’t have one. She started CPR on her son and shouted for help.

“She heard sirens wail down their street. She watched a firefighter try to resuscitate Jack. She screamed at him when she saw him give up.”

Read this story in its entirety at STAT News; click here.

Many think that the opioid crisis is not their problem; read comments following articles in local media. The commenters think that overdoses are “druggie” problems, not theirs. The truth is that addiction crosses all demographics.

heroin faces

This recent People Magazine article features the pictures of some of the people who’ve died from opioid addiction – they are the faces of family members, neighbors, friendspeople just like ones you probably know … right here in Berks County, in Lancaster County and in Lebanon County.

 

Quality Insights shares Practice Change Package | a resource for those who prescribe, dispense and monitor patients with chronic pain

opoid misuse

Quality Insights’ Special Innovation Opioid Project Team, in collaboration with the West Virginia University (WVU) Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and the WV Geriatric Education Center, has developed a Practice Change Package entitled Opioid Misuse and Diversion: The Big Picture; A Guide for Practice Change, to serve as resource to those who prescribe, dispense and monitor patients with chronic pain.

This guideline is:

  • designed to improve patient outcomes, such as pain reduction and improved function
  • based on emerging evidence, including observational studies and randomized clinical trials
  • voluntary- not a prescriptive standard
  • designed to improve communication between clinicians and patients about the risks and benefits of opioid therapy use when managing chronic pain

 

It’s not only in this state | “Many of state’s elderly residents struggle to pay their bills” – The Boston Globe

by Katie Johnson

“Judi Gorsuch has a degree in literature from Michigan State University. She worked as a flight attendant for 19 years, earning up to $40,000 a year, and spent a decade at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, making $12 an hour before her part-time position was cut.

“Now Gorsuch, 74, lives in public housing near the Prudential Center and relies on her monthly $1,460 Social Security check and $400-a-month pension. Between rent and groceries and medical costs, Gorsuch says she’s lucky if she has any money left at the end of the month. When a new prescription for a bladder condition upped her expenses by $55 a month, she stopped filling it.

“‘I just decided to use Depends,’ she said.”

“Gorsuch, who never married and has no children, is among nearly 300,000 Massachusetts residents age 65 and above whose incomes aren’t enough to cover basic necessities, according to the 2016 Elder Economic Security Standard Index developed at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

living below the line

“New estimates from the 2016 Elder Economic Security Standard Index™ suggest that half of older adults living alone, and one out of four older adults living in two-elder households, lack the financial resources required to pay for basic needs.”

elder economic security standard

Click here to read The Boston Globe article in its entirety.

 

“Took The Wrong Medicine By Mistake? Study Finds Such Errors Are On The Rise” – NPR

ade“The rate of serious medication errors that occur outside of health care facilities doubled from 2000 to 2012, a new study finds.” – Gillian Blease/Getty Images

by Courtney Columbus

“When people take medicine at home, mistakes happen.

“Some people end up taking the wrong dose of a medication or the wrong pill. Sometimes, they don’t wait long enough before taking a second dose.

“Other times, it’s a health professional who’s at fault. A pharmacist might have dispensed a medication at the wrong concentration, for example.

“These kinds of mistakes are on the rise, according to a study published Monday in the journal Clinical Toxicology.

“The researchers looked at a small subset of the medication errors that happen in the U.S. every year. The FDA estimates that about 1.3 million people are injured by medication errors annually in the U.S.”

Click here to read this NPR article in its entirety.

“Ask these 7 questions about any new medication” – National Institute on Aging

Before starting on a new medication, be sure to ask your doctors these questions:

  • How many times a day should I take it? At what time(s)? If the bottle says take “4 times a day,” does that mean 4 times in 24 hours or 4 times during the daytime?
  • Should I take the medicine with food or not? Is there anything I should not eat or drink when taking this medicine?
  • Will this medicine cause problems if I am taking other medicines?
  • What does “as needed” mean?
  • When should I stop taking the medicine?
  • If I forget to take my medicine, what should I do?
  • What side effects can I expect? What should I do if I have a problem?

Learn more about medication safety.

And you can learn more by coming to this special FREE event on June 14!

0614 your medications

“A Day in the Life of Older Adults: Substance Use Facts” – SAMHSA

This Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report is important to read.

older adults drug use

“Illicit drug use generally declines as individuals move through young adulthood and into middle adulthood. Although the percentage of people with substance use disorder (SUD) reflects the decline in use as people age, more than 1 million individuals aged 65 or older (“older adults”) had an SUD in 2014, including 978,000 older adults with an alcohol use disorder and 161,000 with an illicit drug use disorder.

Research suggests that substance use is an emerging public health issue among the nation’s older adults. Illicit drug use among adults aged 50 or older is projected to increase from 2.2 percent to 3.1 percent between 2001 and 2020. For example, the number of older Americans with SUD is expected to rise from 2.8 million in 2002–2006 to 5.7 million by 2020. The emergence of SUD as a public health concern among older adults reflects, in part, the relatively higher drug use rates of the baby boom generation (people born between 1946 and 1964) compared with previous generations. Thus, there is a cohort of older adults who may experience the negative consequences of substance use, including physical and mental health issues, social and family problems, involvement with the criminal justice system, and death from drug overdose. Older adults are more likely than people in other age groups to have chronic health conditions and to take prescription medication, which may further complicate adverse effects of substance use.

Click here to continue reading this Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) Report.