Many drugs prescribed to seniors have either not been adequately studied for this age group or have not been formally approved for the conditions they are being prescribed to treat. They are sometimes prescribed without any evidence they are safe and effective for them, and in some cases, even when they are known to present a possible risk (antipsychotics prescribed to older patients with dementia, for example).
The impacts of informal caregiving commitments do not remain confined to the home: they are felt in the Canadian workplace and reduce productivity. They translate into 2.2 million hours of reduced effort in the workplace every week and cause an estimated $1.3 billion productivity loss annually, says the report.
There's the reality that not everyone has a network of friends and family they can call on who are able, capable or willing to handle sometimes complex care needs -- in many cases, for care needs required over long periods of time. In 2012, nearly 461,000 Canadians 15 years of age and older suffering from a chronic condition needed homecare but had none -- formal or informal.
Residents rely heavily on the nursing home to ensure their protection and well-being. So it is paradoxical -- some would say tragic -- that nursing home residents are too often put on drugs they don't need, which can be dangerous, and may even kill them.