Heightened Risks of Polypharmacy in Older People

About the Course:

While many prescriptions and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs may have few side effects when taken alone, the risks of an adverse drug event increases when a person is taking several different medications at the same time. These risks are even greater for older adults due to their decreased kidney and liver function as well as changes in body composition.

This video course reviews the risks of polypharmacy in older adults and is intended to instruct the professional to comprehensively recognize adverse events, educate their patients and collaborate with interprofessional team members regarding their patient's risks and reactions from polypharmacy. Examples are provided of the different types of drug interactions, followed by examples of potentially inappropriate medications for older patients as stated in the Beers Criteria. Case studies are shared for interprofessional clinicians of various disciplines to include patient decline in function, nutrition, cognition, balance, and other signs and symptoms resulting from polypharmacy.

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course the learner will be able to:
  • Identify the overall risks of drug-related issues from polypharmacy with older people.
  • Recognize how aging significantly affects drug clearance.
  • Identify examples of drug-drug and disease-drug interactions.
  • Identify examples of drug-drug and disease-drug interactions.
  • Identify the risks of anticholinergics and antipsychotics with older people.
  • Identify the risks of anticholinergics and antipsychotics with older people.
  • Select the recommendations from the cited case studies to reduce the harmful risks of polypharmacy.
About the Instructor: 
Lisa Milliken, MA, CCC-SLP, FNAP, CDP, has served as a practitioner, regional manager, vice president, consultant, compliance director and education specialist, lecturing at the state and national level with over 300 professional education courses on topics of importance to the healthcare professional. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and has mentored team members in senior retirement communities for their development of effective non-pharmacological strategies and dementia program management. She also volunteers with community programs in the Houston area to support caregivers of family members living with multiple disorders. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, where she currently serves as a State Advocate for Medicare Policy for Texas. She is Vice President of Professional Services for the Texas Speech-Language and Hearing Association and also serves on the Financial Advisory Committee and the Publications Board of this organization. She is a Distinguished Fellow of Public Policy for the National Academies of Practice where she serves as the Co-Chair of the Forum Planning Committee and is a prior board president of the Louisiana Speech-Language and Hearing Association and an alumnus of the Council of State Association Presidents. Finally, she is a member of the Kingwood-Humble Aggie Mom Board and lives in Houston, Texas.

This on-demand video course.