Education Center

Health care-focused resources for seniors and medical community.

Medications that Send Seniors to the ER

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These four medicines account for nearly 50 percent of emergency department
visits for adverse drug events in Medicare patients.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices maintains a list of high-alert medications—medications that can cause significant patient harm if used in error. These include medications that have dangerous adverse effects, but also include look-alike, sound-alike medications, which have similar names and physical appearance but completely different pharmaceutical properties. The Beers criteria, which define certain classes of medications as potentially inappropriate for geriatric patients, have traditionally been used to assess medication safety. However, the newer STOPP criteria (Screening Tool of older Person’s inappropriate Prescriptions) have been shown to more accurately predict ADEs than the Beers criteria, and are therefore likely a better measure of prescribing safety in the elderly.

Though there are specific types of medications for which the harm generally outweighs the benefits, such as benzodiazepine sedatives in elderly patients, it is now clear that most adverse drug events [ADEs] are caused by commonly used medications that have risks, but offer significant benefits if used properly. These medications include antidiabetic agents (e.g., insulin), oral anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin), and antiplatelet agents (such as aspirin and clopidogrel). Together, these four medications—which are not considered inappropriate by the Beers criteria—account for nearly 50% of emergency department visits for ADEs in Medicare patients. Focusing on improving prescribing safety for these necessary but higher-risk medications may reduce the large burden of ADEs in the elderly to a greater extent than focusing on use of potentially inappropriate classes of medications. – Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Online Medicare Resources for Seniors

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Make your health plan work for you with these popular Medicare resources.
Whether you want information on drug discounts or are looking for the best doctor in your area, you’ll get a wealth of Medicare-related information with these resources courtesy of

  1. Learn more about using Medicare and your options for Long-Term Care.
  2. See if you are eligible and learn more about Medicaid options for seniors.
  3. Use the Compare Care Providers page to find the best doctor, hospital, nursing home or other health care provider where you live.
  4. If you don’t have Medicare, find coverage and pricing options.
  5. Learn more about Medicare Preventive Services at
  6. Medicare Drug Discounts: See how the donut hole will close between now and 2020.
  7. Understand your health plan and learn how to make it work for you.

2013 Health Care Observances

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2013 Health Care Observances Calendar

Reach out to your community with health care-related events and activities that are tied to popular observances.

Use these daily, weekly and monthly health care observances to provide disease-specific education.

Health care observances are a popular vehicle to provide disease-specific education, events and activities.

This month-by-month guide of the most commonly celebrated health care observances allows you to plan your outreach initiatives throughout the year.

Whether you are a hospital, physician group, assisted living facility or other health care provider, this list of daily, weekly and monthly health care observances is a useful tool for providing educational activities to your senior community.

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