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Medication Management in Assisted Living

What’s Assisted Living All About?
Medication Management in Assisted Living

A 2009 study found that more than half of Americans over the age of 65 take 5 or more prescription drugs regularly and one in 4 seniors takes between 10 and 19 pills per day. And that the more medications a senior takes, the more room there is for error.

When medications are taken incorrectly, serious, life-threatening harm may result. In medical terms, this would be described as an “adverse medical event.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that older adults are twice as likely as others to visit the emergency room due to an adverse drug event – over 177,000 visits per year. Reasons for these visits may include dizziness, falls, delirium and changes in vital signs.

Oversight with medication management can help decrease errors. But sometimes a knock on the door or phone call reminder is not enough. It’s easy to forget whether a medication was taken, misread a bottle, or take the wrong amount. Medication management for seniors by trained professionals can make a huge difference in a senior’s quality of life and overall wellness. Assistance with medication is one of the benefits to living in assisted living.

Here’s what you need to know about the medication management programs offered by assisted living communities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

Self-Administered Medication Management (SAMM)

In Massachusetts, where NewBridge on the Charles is located, all assisted living communities offer a level of medication management called Self Administered Medication Management, or SAMM. This program is somewhat limited, so it is important to understand what is included and what is not. Under Massachusetts regulations, personal care staff may help residents take their own medications, but not administer them directly.  For example, a certified nursing assistant may remind a resident to take medication, read labels, open containers and then – and this is crucial – observe and document whether the drug is taken. But the staff may not actually administer the medication. 

Limited Medication Administration (LMA)

If you need more active assistance, such as help manually squeezing an inhaler or releasing eye drops, placing pills into the mouth, or applying a pain patch, you would want to choose an assisted living community that also offers Limited Medication Administration or LMA. This is an optional level of care in Massachusetts and may not be offered in every community.

The assisted living community at NewBridge on the Charles includes both SAMM and LMA at no additional cost. To learn more about other amenities and services provided in assisted living check out our related blog posts, or request more information from Assisted Living at NewBridge on the Charles. 

Tara Fleming Caruso, MA, LMHC's picture

About the Blogger

Collaborative Care Advisor at NewBridge on the Charles

Tara serves as the collaborative care advisor for the NewBridge campus, making her an important resource for each of our residents and their families. Tara helps each senior moving to NewBridge both understand and access the variety of supports our continuum of care offers so each can live their best life possible. Tara brings almost 25 years of elder care experience to this role, including developing an expressive therapy program in a skilled nursing facility, serving as a program manager at a dementia-specific assisted living, and working at NewBridge on the Charles since 2009. She is a...

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