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Polypharmacy and Drug-Drug Interactions in Older Adults

What is Polypharmacy and its Impacts?

Polypharmacy is a significant problem in the community, particularly for people living with multiple comorbidities or multiple chronic diseases. Knowledge of medications and their actions and interactions with each other is an important skill of nursing practice. Drug-drug interactions can have significant consequences for the patient. This task is designed to assess the theoretical knowledge that you have acquired whilst undertaking TUM202 Therapeutic Use of Medicines. 

To complete this assessment task, you must: 

• Read the case study document found in Assessment resources on Blackboard.

• Your response to the case study should:

Polypharmacy case study

Case Scenario (this is a fictitious patient and any relationship to a patient from the past or present is purely coincidental)

Gladys is a 92-year-old lady, with multiple chronic diseases. She lives on her own in the community with daily visits from a community carer. She has one son who lives 400kms away. Gladys has been admitted because her carer found her at home this morning confused, difficult to mobilise (muscles seem rigid) and the carer noticed some jerking of her legs as she tried to dress her. The carer reports that Gladys is also sweating a lot which is unusual. She had a fall at home three days ago and has complained since of an increase in her back pain. Her HR is within normal limits (rate and rhythm), BP is 150/90, RR 20 bpm, O2 Sats 94% on Room Air. She wears hearing aids and glasses and uses a stick normally to mobilise. Her son has been notified of her admis

1.Define polypharmacy. Who is at risk of polypharmacy? What are the impacts of polypharmacy on the older person, on the healthcare system? Introduce the case study briefly. 

2.Identify the two drug- drug interactions. Which drug -drug interaction is linked to the signs and symptoms that the case study has presented with? What is causing the symptoms? 

3.Propose strategies that can be implemented to identify and prevent polypharmacy. Identify evidence-based resources that can assist you to identify possible drug drug interactions? o

4.Consider how you could advocate for the case study with the medical officers.

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