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New Plan Helping Seniors Stay Healthy And At Home Longer

Helping seniors to stay healthy, feel better, and stay in the comfort of their own homes longer are the primary goals for a new medicine management plan by the Illinois Department on Aging. (WRSP)

Helping seniors to stay healthy, feel better, and stay in the comfort of their own homes longer are the primary goals for a new medicine management plan by the Illinois Department on Aging.

"We see so many times individuals end up in emergency rooms, or even nursing homes, due to the way medications are taken," Illinois Department on Aging Director Jean Bohnhoff said.

A series of in-depth reports by the Chicago Tribune showed that at times, lethal combinations of medicines are being handed out. For seniors, many have multiple prescribing physicians.

"Very often you're getting doctors that may potentially write prescriptions that may be contraindicating and may be lethal or dangerous," Matt Ryan, Illinois Department on Aging Chief of Staff, said.

This program establishes home visits by pharmacists who help with those difficult medicine routines, in hopes of reducing the amount of medication taken and cost.

"Our customers to date, we've measured an average of reduction of two medications per person and an average of $1,500 per person per year," Michele Arling, president of Advanced Patient Care, said.

Once the correct medicine routine is established for the senior, pharmacists will prepackage their pills with directions on how to take them properly.

"It's one packet with time take it," Ryan said. "Everything they're taking in one little packet and then they're done. There's no more. At mid-month this prescription is up, at the end of the month these two are up, everything is cycled. All of your prescriptions are delivered and due at your door each month."

Currently, the Advanced Patient Care group is conducting the demonstration pro bono. If and when this program is rolled out statewide, the Illinois Department on Aging says there are a couple payment options they're considering. Both options would cost less than $200 for the customer, for life.

The target group for this demonstration are people over the age of 60 who have two or more health conditions, and are on five or more medications. This demonstration is coming to Peoria in the next month or two.

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