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Primary HEALTHCARE And Improving Polypharmacy Nursing Essay

"Polypharmacy is common in the elderly - around 20% of men and women over 70 take five or even more drugs" (Milton, J et al. Prescribing for the elderly. BMJ 2008; 336: 606-9)

With reference to both literature and your CBM experience discuss how the Primary Health Care team can work together to improve both conformity and concordance in relation to medication in patients.

Polypharmacy is thought as: "the use of a number of different drugs possibly prescribed by different doctors and packed in different pharmacies, by an individual and also require one or several health problems" [1]. The World Health Organisation quotes that only 50% of patients who put up with chronic diseases adhere to treatment recommendations [2].

During day four entitled 'A Tablet for Every Sick?' at our GP practise we talked about and learned about the issue of polypharmacy and exactly how it effects conformity (The scope to that your patient's behaviour fits the prescriber's tips [3] ) and concordance (a concept in which doctor and patient agree with the fact restorative decisions that include their respective views [3] ) in patients. I also got the chance to interview patients about their medication use. From interviewing two patients I found that they all took a number of different drugs for several health problems not only for one. All the patients were over the age of sixty and had initially presented with one health problem. Later, further health difficulties arose that resulted in more health conditions/problems and therefore increased polypharmacy.

The first patient I interviewed needed eleven different tablets and possessed two inhalers. He previously possessed asthma since his child years and taken an inhaler with him. He primarily offered type two diabetes mellitus twenty years before and was approved medication to help control his diabetes. However, he had a heart attack ten years back but was however not recommended certain preventative center medications for nine years and consequently only began for taking his full span of heart medications this past year. He has now been prescribed with GTN aerosol and eight tablets including beta blockers, statins, aspirin and GTN aerosol. He can take five of these tablets in the morning and three during the night. He's on repeat prescription for everyone his medications and he picks up a blister load up/ dosette field from the pharmacy every month along with his medication in, so that he can bear in mind what things to take and when to adopt it. When asked he said he was 'very happy' with how evidently the tablets, inhalers and the medial side effects of both had been explained to him. He does not pay for his medications because he is an old years pensioner. He does not feel he suffers any side effects from the medications. He has regular sessions to have blood vessels considered so that he can be checked so that if necessary, changes in his medication can be made.

The second patient I interviewed took nineteen different tablets. She possessed offered angina and was approved center medications (beta blockers, statins, aspirin and GTN spray). She later became hospitalised credited to an infection in her lower leg for which she was recommended antibiotics which she was still taking at the time. Two years ago she started out to have problems with severe pain up her rear, at the side of her face and at the back of her mind. She consulted because of this pain and after lots of follow ups with a specialist at medical center; it was discovered that the pain privately of her face and again of her head, was being brought on by a sizable vein lying on the nerve in her face causing painful muscle spasms. Due to the pain in her rear, she found it hard to climb the stairs. She was recommended codeine for the pain by sticking patches to her epidermis (to change every day) to give her a continuous dose over a longer period of time than tablets would. The codeine tablets were prescribed for times when the pain became too severe that the dose being implemented by the areas wasn't enough. The girl explained that she did not suffer any aspect results from the medications she required. She actually is on duplicate prescription for any her medications which she requires daily at different dosages for every medication, apart from the antibiotics that she is on the previous course. She does not have to pay due to her as an later years pensioner. To keep in mind for taking her medications, she continues all of them in a box by her foundation. She's never experienced a predicament where she completely ran out of drugs because she's the help of her family who go directly to the pharmacy to pick up her medicines on her behalf.

I found the interviews I conducted very interesting and helpful in understanding the important issues of compliance and concordance with patients that arose from polypharmacy. With regards to conformity and concordance, both patients gave a lot of importance to the fact that each and every time they were approved a drugs, the GP would remember to explain why these were prescribing the drug, explaining the way the drug performed, the dose required and responding to any questions that they had about the medication.

Whilst studying literature on this issue, I came across an article about a randomised control trial in patients with center failure and how the intervention of your pharmacist may well increase conformity with the patients [4]. It is a fact that patients with center failure have several prescriptions and for that reason sometimes have problems being compliant and taking full courses of their medication at prescribed times. The tests aim was specifically to find out if "pharmacist intervention improves medication adherence and health final results compared with usual look after low-income patients with center failure" [4]. 39% of the 314 patients with low income were given intervention while the remaining 61% continued to be with usual treatment. Both organizations were adopted for a year. The group subject to involvement underwent 9 a few months of multilevel intervention by the pharmacist with a 3 month follow-up period. The involvement was created by an interdisciplinary medical care team who helped patients with low health understanding and insufficient resources to manage their medication. The results of the trial exhibited that during the 9 months of intervention, conformity to adopt medication in the group with normal good care was 67. 9% whilst in the treatment group it was 78. 8%. This difference of 10. 9% was found to be statistically significant; therefore these results show that intervention by the pharmacist does increase compliance in patients. However, in the 3 month follow-up these results dissipated. The rate of compliance reduced to 66. 7% in the group with normal attention and 70. 6% in the group with involvement. The difference of 3. 9% between the two teams was found never to be statistically significant interpretation there was no lasting influence on conformity. Medication was taken at the right time 47. 2% of the time by the standard attention group and 53. 1% of the time by the treatment group. This soon lowered to 48. 9% and 48. 6% in the normal care and intervention group respectively in the 3 month follow-up [4]. For there to be always a lasting effect on increasing compliance and as a subset, taking the medication at the correct times, it was essential to continue involvement. This review was useful in assisting find a way of increasing compliance; however, it had not been clear exactly how this "intervention" performed. I recognized it involved supporting patients take care of their medication better however, not how exactly and also involved educating them better about the drugs. In relation to this essay, this review has these restrictions but at the same time it discloses useful methods to increase compliance which I can not disregard.

There are proven reasons apart from the ones described above, for non-compliance. Included in these are being male, being a new patient, getting a shorter disease period and work and travel pressures [5]. Non-compliance requires the disadvantage of patients not following a strict regimen of taking medication which consequently causes further unwell health insurance and possible bacterial level of resistance in the long term. Once these issues have been accepted through discussion between a patient and a specialist; there are two interventions which can significantly increase compliance. These methods were proven useful in a study conducted to check out ways that compliance could be increased in patients with ulcerative colitis [5]. In both instances it's important for there to be a good relationship between your patient and specialist where the patient feels comfortable to speak openly about their problems. Educational involvement can be provided [5]. This is comprised of verbal explanation of the medication dosage regime and the way the medicine itself works. Written home elevators the drug is also provided to educate the patient further. Once the patient feels they are simply sufficiently outfitted with knowledge on the medicine and have agreed to take it, the specialist and patient draft a self-management programme collaboratively. However, this method of treatment has its drawbacks credited to time constraints many doctors are under. They are able to not find enough time to undergo this extended process with every patient. This problem could be triumph over insurance firms another person in the primary medical team look after this process like a pharmacist who is experienced to answer questions on medications.

The second treatment is dependant on the patient's behavior [5]. It involves rendering it easier and even more memorable to take their medication. This is done with the utilization of calendar/blister packages which can be made/provided at the pharmacy. The blister packages serve as reminders or cues. They have got the day and time of which each tablet should be studied on the trunk so that it becomes harder to get lost also to miss tablets, therefore enhancing compliance. That is a cheap and cost-effective method which includes been proven to boost conformity. The interventions jointly optimised conformity when they were adapted to specific patient needs in the analysis regarding ulcerative colitis patients.

To investigate methods to improve conformity I first need to make clear some of the reason why for poor conformity. For this I am going to use a study based on the sources of non-compliance to statin therapy as a major problem in cardiology, as my proof [6]. This study found that there have been a variety of factors that caused non-compliance. These include patient, specialist and system factors [6]. Patient factors include comorbidities ("several coexisting medical conditions or disease operations that are additional to a short examination" [7]) which increase polypharmacy which lessens conformity and also financial constraints in being unable to buy approved medication. Specialist factors include poor communication skills, time constraints and poor doctor-patient cooperation. System factors include medication costs, lack of scientific monitoring and medication side effects [6]. These valid points presented by the study highlight where the changes need to be made in the Primary Healthcare team to boost compliance in patients.

Some of the causes of decreased compliance above have evident alternatives. Financial constraints on patients could lead to a means examined system where patients that earn less than a specific amount obtain medications free. This might eliminate the problem of patients not being able to obtain their medications. Experts could be directed on courses to improve their communication skills so that patients feel they are simply being listened to more and so they feel they understand the drugs and aspect results so they feel comfortable being compliant. The thought of communication programs for doctors will also have a good impact on doctor-patient collaboration thus increasing conformity. Medication costs could only be lowered when patents on specific drugs go out and other drugs companies contend for business thus decreasing costs. Medicine side effects are simply just a limitation of the technology companies have at this time, to formulate drugs. When technology developments, so will mans capacity to decrease the number and intensity of side effects. However, doctors can also regularly review medication to reduce side results by turning a patient's medication to another medicine with similar results but fewer aspect effects. This increase conformity because drugs will more and more only have the required effects and little or no side results.

Many of the system factors that lead to decreased compliance are in fact not in the control of the primary medical team, such as controlling the medication costs which can be establish by the drugs companies and medicine side effects. The individual factors resulting in decreased compliance are extremely personal and specific to the patient. However, the principal healthcare team can be useful in assisting these problems to be get over by, for example, sorting drugs into a dosette pack for an individual who's very forgetful. The practitioner factors that lead to diminished conformity are indeed the same reasons that cause decreased concordance and also other reasons.

Improving concordance is associated with improving compliance. In fact improved compliance using cases is a primary consequence of increasing concordance. For this reason tackling the situation of reduced concordance is a key issue in the primary medical team.

Decreased concordance is because intentional non-compliance by patients [8] credited to time constraints a health care provider is under, poor doctor-patient romantic relationship, poor communication skills of the physician including poor explanation of the patient's conditions [9] and the drugs these are taking and poor appearance/professionalism and reliability. Time constraints are issues because GP's feel pressured to dash everything necessary giving the patient sense ill prepared. Authorities initiatives to set a minimum time limit about how long any assessment should last, is actually a possible answer to this problem. This would give doctors more of an possibility to ask more open questions and even more probing questions into how the patient's life is affecting their health/conformity. Patients receive the choice of asking to possess consultations with doctors they believe that they have got better interactions with, however, if it is noticed that a style is emerging whenever a certain doctor is consistently not asked for, a review can take place to investigate why the attention given by a specific doctor is not good enough. The physician can be dispatched on courses in improving care and become sanctioned if considered necessary by the overall Medical Council through fitness to practise steps.

If the NHS makes certain that the doctors are provided with an increase of than enough information to teach them on the drugs they prescribe, the likelihood of poor explanations by doctors to patients on their medications is more unlikely. Doctors' also needs to avoid the use of medical jargon and use simpler dialect that the individual will probably understand to improve concordance [9]. If this is the reason for poor communication of doctors then poor concordance is also resolved. However, poor communication for the doctor can be credited to number of different non-intentional problems including family problems. If this is the circumstance then support services can be produced available to the doctor to boost his condition/practise. It has the wider aftereffect of improving appearance/professionalism if this is also suffering.

Compliance and concordance are of great importance because a drop in either can result in an exacerbation of the underlying illness or oftentimes of polypharmacy, an exacerbation of comorbidities. In conclusion, there are numerous simple methods in improving compliance, in certain cases therefore of enhancing concordance. The doctor-patient marriage is key in improving conformity as it involves a mutual understanding and essentially lends help in listening to problems of patients and finding methods for them to stay compliant. The simplest methods such as the use of dosette containers, having doctors that are proficient in the drugs they recommend and making the effort to explain these to patients, will be the most useful methods of improving compliance and concordance.

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