Tag Archives: medication

Skyrocketing drug prices put seniors’ health at risk

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Photo: Frankieleon via Flickr

Photo: Frankieleon via Flickr

The average price of brand-name prescription drugs rose almost 130 times faster than inflation in 2015 — 15.5 percent compared with 0.1 percent. New data points to increasing medication affordability problems for older adults, putting many of them at risk, according to a new report.

Researchers from the AARP Public Policy Institute studied trends in the retail prices of 268 brand name drugs widely used by older Americans between 2006 and 2015. Continue reading

Expert panel highlights cognitive aging risk factors, prevention

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Photo: Philippa Willitts via Flickr

Photo: Philippa Willitts via Flickr

Medications — including many over-the-counter drugs —  are among the greatest contributors to accelerated cognitive decline in older adults, according to experts at the recent Gerontological Society of America conference in Orlando, Fla. Yet, they are probably the most frequent reversible contributor to adverse cognitive events. Continue reading

New AARP report looks at onus on spousal caregivers

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Image by Tammy Strobel via flickr.

Image by Tammy Strobel via flickr.

A new report from the The United Hospital Fund and AARP Public Policy Institute finds that spouses who act as the primary family caregiver routinely perform complex medical and nursing tasks without adequate in-home support from health care professionals, especially when compared with non-spousal family caregivers.

Eighty-four percent of spousal care recipients received no professional health care on site, compared to 65 percent of non-spousal care recipients. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of spouses who are caregivers perform many of the tasks that health care professionals do – such as medication management, wound care, using meters and monitors, compared to 42 percent of nonspousal caregivers.

Compounding the challenge, spouses were also less likely to receive help from family or friends or home care aides: 58 percent of the spouses reported no additional help from others, compared to 20 percent of nonspouses. Continue reading

How to cover nursing homes with more depth and data #ahcj13

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

It was worth the wait to attend one of the last sessions on the last day of Health Journalism 2013.

Data mining is one of those topics that can make the audience’s eyes glaze over, but the energy level in the room was high as the audience learned how two Boston Globe reporters used publicly accessible records to expose widespread overmedication of Massachusetts nursing home residents, resulting in a highly acclaimed front-page series.

Health reporter Kay Lazar led a panel which included her colleague, reporter Matt Carroll, and Patricia Fried, a consultant to lawyers investigating nursing home wrongdoing, subcontractor to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and experienced nursing home director.

Discovering the truth about nursing home residents’ quality of life can be challenging, Lazar said. However, once you understand what to look for and how to analyze the data, it unearths a wealth of information, and many potential story ideas. Much of the analysis conducted by Lazar and Carroll came from statements of deficiency (SOD) forms submitted to CMS by nursing home surveyors, also known as inspectors. Continue reading

Drug data could inform stories about elder care

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

The 2007 National Home and Hospice Care Survey (NHHCS ) Medication Public-Use File and Documentation are now available for downloading.pills

One group of researchers used earlier NHHCS data to “examine changes in hospice services over time, as they were collected during the period from 1992 to 2000, paralleling the period of substantial growth in hospice use and spending.”

With recent studies and news about the increase in use of antipsychotics in the elderly, this data might be useful in reporting such stories and documenting the increase, as well as stories about how treatments have changed.

The 2007 NHHCS Medication Public-Use Data File is supported by SAS, SPSS, and STATA input statements. The documentation includes three PDF files: technical notes, a data dictionary, and a PDF file that provides drug name codes, drug estimates and rates, and drug characteristics.