Nursing Home of the Future Update: Innovation in Medication Management Sorely Needed

medication managementSoon after BIF launched the Nursing Home of the Future (NHoF) laboratory, medication (and the management of that medication) clearly emerged as a part of the elder experience that has a big impact on quality of life.

There’s a lot we don’t know about how people get, take and manage their medications—it is an area of our lives that most keep very personal. The same is true for many elders and aging Americans who work hard to keep their prescription and over-the-counter drug routines maximized for safety and effectiveness.

Managing medications can be difficult and confusing for everyone and a great deal of focus has been placed on developing products and systems that help people take the right medicines, at the right time and in the right way. We also know that people with especially complicated medication regimes have come up with thousands of ways to manage medication—from novel ways to store and take their meds to excel spreadsheets and logbooks that bring order to an otherwise confusing routine. Helping elders and aging people manage medications is an important part of helping people maximize the effectiveness of drug therapies and minimize the risks of side effects.

Our work in the NHoF lab has shown us that there is room for improvement in the medication management arena. In March, the team launched a Medication Management module to better understand the experience elders have as they manage their medications and take a systems-level view of the current "medication management” experience. Out end goal is to use this elder-centric view of the experience to accelerate the development of new solutions that help elders safely maintain their independence and empower care givers and families to better assist elders who need support with managing their medications.

The lab kicked off the medication management module with work to understand how elders currently manage their medications. We believe that to truly transform this area we need to more deeply understand the full entire experience. The team began work to answer important questions about how elders at all stages of their lives  acquire, store, consume, order, understand and talk about medication. This activity includes focus groups with caretakers who assist elders, workshops with elders about their experience with medications, and design sessions where elders can share their ideas for improving the current system. The team also worked with staff from assisted living and nursing home environments to understand medication management from the perspective of those who support elders day-to-day.

Like all work in the NHoF lab, the most rewarding part of the process is empowering elders to share their personal perspectives about what works well, what doesn’t, and how the overall experience can be improved.

medication managementThe following presentation (in PDF format) will walk you through our findings and give you deep insight into how elders approach medication management. LOOK NOW

medication managementYou can also learn more about the continuum of experience we found working with the elders...from those individuals who need no help to those who are dependent on others to administer medications. LOOK NOW

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