176432 Educate before you medicate: Lessons learned from a program to promote safe medication use by low-income older adults

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 8:50 AM

Jaslin Yu, BA , Chronic Disease & Injury Prevention, Public Health, San Mateo County Health Department, San Mateo, CA
Scott Morrow, MD, MPH , Health Officer, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
Edith Cabuslay, MPH , Program Services Manager, San Mateo County Health Department, San Mateo, CA
Medication misuse is a serious issue in the older population because the frequency of adverse reactions increase as the number of drugs used increases. The San Mateo County Health Department Senior Medication Management Program has dedicated over six years to promoting safe medication use in low-income older adults. The two major components of the program are 1) presentations to educate older adults and their caregivers how to use medications safely, and 2) one-on-one counseling sessions with pharmacists. Reaching low-income older adults has been a challenge due to transportation and mobility issues. In response to this challenge, our program is promoted through the management of senior living facilities and other community venues where older adults can be found. Volunteer pharmacists who speak the major languages in San Mateo County are trained to work with low-income older adults to provide medication consultation.

Since the program began in 2001, approximately 3,000 older adult and their caregivers have been educated on medication management. Curricula for targeting different ethnic groups have been created, and medication record booklets in four different languages have been produced and distributed. Relationships have been established with senior living facilities and service providers, and more than 15 volunteer pharmacists and pharmacy students have been recruited into the program. We have learned that providing general educational presentations alone is not enough to make an impact. The educational presentations serve as a draw for the one-on-one counseling by a pharmacist which was effective in promoting safe medication use among older adults.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the importance of working with low-income older adults on medication management 2. Analyze the different methods of educating low-income older adults and their caregivers about safe medication use. 3. Describe other issues to consider when working with low-income older adults.

Keywords: Drug Safety, Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I manage the San Mateo County Health Department Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention (CDIP) Unit. The Senior Medication Management program is housed within CDIP. I oversaw every aspect of the program plan, delivery and evaluation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.