Long-Term Care

The polypharmacy problem

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, January 14, 2010

Polypharmacy is the use of multiple drugs simultaneously. This is a common occurrence in elderly, long-term care facility residents. Drugs provide many positive effects, including improving quality of life, alleviating symptoms, and curing some infections and diseases. Despite the benefits, polypharmacy is a significant concern to those caring for the elderly in the United States. Consequences of polypharmacy may include the following:

  • Adverse drug reactions
  • Drug-to-drug interactions
  • Noncompliance with the drug regimen
  • Decline of quality of life or functional ability
  • Deterioration in mental status

This is an excerpt from HCPro's book, The Long-Term Care Nursing Desk Reference, Second Edition, by Barbara Acello, MS, RN.

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