Geriatric Expert Warns – The Elderly Often Receive Too Much Medication

Senior Care in White Plains NY

The senior management team of The Perfect Home Care recently attended a presentation on the dangers of over-medicating seniors, with the emphasis that the practice is at best not helpful and in fact often harmful.


Dr. David A. Chmielewski

Called “Deprescribing: Protecting Patients from Polypharmacy,” the presentation was given by David A. Chmielewski, MD, medical director of United Hospice of Rockland, a skilled nursing facility located in New City, NY.

Dr. Chmielewski addressed an enthusiastic audience of about 150 people at the quarterly meeting of the Central Westchester Geriatric Committee, an organization that describes itself this way: “As a group of professionals, we are a forum for education. We network and present programs concerning issues related to the aging population.”


The meeting was held at the Ambassador Scarsdale, an independent and assisted living community in Scarsdale, NY. The Perfect Home Care, which participates in many professional organizations, is an active member of the Central Westchester Geriatric Committee.


According to Dr. Chmielewski, “polypharmacy” is the practice of administering or using multiple medications, especially concurrently, for a single patient. Over-prescribing, he said, has multiple potential consequences, including unanticipated drug interactions, unknowable cumulative risks, ill health, disability, hospitalization, and even death.


He said that each case needs to be reviewed carefully, with the practitioner following a protocol that includes, among other things, identifying every drug, considering potential benefits vs. risks, and prioritizing.


As an example, Dr. Chmielewski pointed to the case of a 92-year-old woman who was a resident of the hospice facility where he works.  She was suffering from a host of ailments, including colon cancer that had metastasized to the lung, liver and lymphatics.


Her prognosis resulted in her being admitted to the hospice facility, where residents are near end of life. The woman, according to Dr. Chmielewski, was being prescribed 25 different medications when she was admitted to the facility.  After reviewing her case, Dr. Chmielewski said he reduced her number of medications to zero.


“Dr. Chmielewski gave a great presentation,” said Phil Waga, president and co-owner of The Perfect Home Care. “It covered a lot of topics, including a review of many of the medications prescribed to seniors.  He was very engaging. We learned a lot.”


If you or an aging loved one are looking for senior care in White Plains, NY, call the friendly staff at The Perfect Home Care at (855) 855-5728.  Call today!

Geralyn DiGiovanni, Manager, Client Services