Dane County pharmacists work to reduce elderly falls by doing medical checks

The United Way chapter of Dane County, WI, is working with pharmacists to help older adults in the area avoid medication mix-ups in an effort to reduce falls. Wisconsin ranks second in fall-related deaths in the United States among those aged 65 years and older, with a rate twice the U.S. average. Since 2011, the Comprehensive Medication Review Initiative has allowed pharmacists to complete more than 1,000 medication reviews to check for possible interactions for high-risk, older adults, according to the Wisconsin Pharmacy Quality Collaborative. "It's aligned with United Way's agenda for change and keeping older adults safe and independent at home," says Helene McDowell, of the United Way. Last year, pharmacists performed 160 medication checks in Dane County, and McDowell says they hope to increase that by 30% this year at senior centers and older adult housing complexes as well as in neighborhood settings. The medication reviews help ensure patients are taking their medications as intended. Staff members also provide blood pressure checks, explain how to safely dispose of medications, and offer informational pamphlets on a number of topics that include alcohol abuse and strengthening exercises.

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