The risk of a health disorder worsening is increased by non-adherence to treatment, most often seen as prescription medication non-adherence. Understanding the importance of taking medication as prescribed and implementing strategies to do so helps improve health outcomes.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control, non-adherence is associated with higher rates of hospital admissions, worsened health, and an increased mortality (death) risk. Around 50% of all US adults are non-adherent to their prescribed medications. Meanwhile, seniors are the least likely to adhere to medication as prescribed by their doctors. 

How medication adherence can impact managing acute and chronic health disorders 

The dose of a medication is prescribed for each drug, as well as the drug itself. That dose is determined based on many patient factors, such as: 

  • Severity of the health disorder to be treated. 
  •  Age of the patient. 
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) of the patient. 
  • Time of day a drug in pill form will be taken. 

If a person prescribed a specific drug takes it at a lower or higher dose, the drug can be ineffective at treating the disorder or cause side effects. For example, some prescription medications to control high blood pressure (BP) are taken twice per day. If the patient takes it only once each day, the high BP may not be well-controlled. In turn, this could result in a preventable stroke. 

Failure to take a prescribed drug – or suddenly stopping it – can lead to negative health effects.  

Reasons seniors can fail at medication adherence 

Nearly 40% of all adults experience some degree of short-term memory loss after age 65. Senior-aged adults are also more likely to take more daily prescription medications. This is because senior-aged adults are more likely to be afflicted with various chronic health disorders.  

Some common chronic health disorders are also linked to an increased risk for depression based on brain chemistry changes. Researchers have found that depressed patients are 76% more likely to be non-adherent to prescribed medications as compared to their non-depressed counterparts. Whatever the reason for the non-adherence, there are methods you can use to stay on better track with your prescribed daily medications. 

How prescription drug reminder messages can improve medication adherence 

Setting an alarm on an alarm clock is one way to remind yourself to take a prescribed daily medication, many adults do this in order to take a particular prescription drug at a specific time. For seniors transferred from a hospital to a rehab center, the nursing staff will most likely let patients know when to take a prescribed medication and provide it to them. However, patients discharged at home are often left feeling hopeless with managing a complex schedule.  

“Smart” digital devices such as Ōmcare’s Home Health Hub® are growing in popularity, due to their ability to provide reminders as well as enable videoconferencing. The Hub is specifically designed for seniors, and it can dispense the prescribed medication in pre-packaged pouches, as well as remind the senior to take it at exactly the right time.