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“De-prescribing” for Seniors

February 2, 2024

Written by Dr. Andrew Xiao

We understand the unique healthcare needs of our aging population.

Man in White Suit With Blue Stethoscope

Do I still need this medication?

A Physician’s Perspective on “De-prescribing” for Seniors

As a physician dedicated to the health and well-being of our elderly community, I find it crucial to address a topic that directly impacts the lives of many seniors—reviewing and deprescribing medications. Let’s explore why deprescribing is important and how it aligns with our commitment to providing comprehensive care, exemplified by the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities Geriatric Clinic.

The Importance of Deprescribing

Seniors often find themselves managing multiple medications to address various health concerns. While these medications may have been essential at one point, our bodies undergo changes with age, altering our medication needs. Deprescribing involves a careful reassessment of medications, aiming to discontinue those that may no longer be necessary or might pose risks to our senior population.

Streamlining Medication Regimens

Polypharmacy, or the simultaneous use of multiple medications, can be a significant concern. It increases the likelihood of drug interactions, side effects, and complications. Deprescribing helps streamline medication regimens, reducing the burden on the body and minimizing the chances of adverse reactions. By tailoring treatment plans to individual needs, we prioritize our seniors’ well-being.

Enhancing Quality of Life

Our ultimate goal as physicians is to improve the quality of life for our patients. Deprescribing plays a pivotal role in achieving this by alleviating the physical and financial burdens associated with unnecessary medications. Simplifying medication routines often leads to better adherence to essential treatments, promoting overall well-being and a higher quality of life for our elderly patients.

Geriatric Clinic at Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities

At the Geriatric Clinic, we understand the unique healthcare needs of our aging population. Our clinic offers comprehensive geriatric assessments, providing a holistic view of seniors’ health, lifestyle, and specific challenges they may be facing. Through a team of dedicated healthcare professionals, including a physician, nurses, and social workers, we aim to enhance the overall well-being of our elderly community.

Our geriatric assessments include a thorough review of medications, ensuring that each prescription aligns with the individual’s current health status and goals. The deprescribing process is approached with sensitivity, considering each senior’s unique needs and concerns. Our team collaborates with patients and their families to navigate the deprescribing process, ensuring that every decision aligns with the patient’s evolving needs.

Similar to community memory clinics, a full cognitive assessment is completed for all patients. In addition to a thorough physical exam, our comprehensive geriatric assessment will address issues commonly encountered by older adults including falls, poor mobility, bowel/urinary concerns, and home and social supports. Patients and families often appreciate that the current wait time for an appointment at our clinic is shorter than most other geriatric or community GAIN clinics.

If you or a loved one is interested in a comprehensive geriatric assessment, we invite you to speak with your family doctor about a referral to the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities Geriatric Clinic. If you do not have a family doctor, a referral can also be sent from a walk-in clinic or hospital doctor. We can see patients who live in Scarborough or have a family doctor based in Scarborough. We can provide assessments in English, Chinese (Mandarin), and Vietnamese.

The well-being of older adults is our priority, so together, we can strive for healthier golden years.