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Technology and health care for the elderly medical research studies
Help CFN prioritize areas of work in developing new research funding opportunities for medication optimization, and in developing practices for best use to benefit older adults living with frailty.

Medication use in older Canadians living with frailty

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The burden of frailty in Canada is steadily growing. Today, approximately 25% of people over age 65 and 50% past age 85 – over one million Canadians – are medically frail. And in 10 years, well over two million Canadians may be living with frailty.

Frailty isn’t simply getting older. The risk of becoming frail increases with age, but the two are not the same. Frail people are at higher risk for negative health outcomes and death than we would expect based on their age alone. Frailty is a state of increased vulnerability, with reduced physical reserve and loss of function across multiple body systems. This reduces ability to cope with normal or minor stresses, which can cause rapid and dramatic changes in health.

There is little evidence to guide the care of frail older adults. We don’t know if current therapies are beneficial or cause harm, are cost-effective or waste scarce healthcare resources. Unfortunately, this is particularly true with medication. Often multiple prescription medications are required to help manage the conditions that develop with frailty.  In fact, older adults are the heaviest users of prescriptions medicines in Canada. They are also particularly vulnerable to adverse drug reactions and drug interactions because of the complex and numerous conditions, as well as age-related physiological changes. However, many drugs and their interactions with other medicines prescribed to older adults either have not been adequately studied for this population. Clinical trials rarely include older adults, and people taking multiple medications.

The Canadian Frailty Network is undertaking a series of consultations with researchers and stakeholders from across the care spectrum to share ideas and information, leading to strategies for better use and management of medications for older Canadians living with frailty. Your input can also assist CFN in prioritizing areas of work in developing new research funding opportunities for medication optimization, and in developing practices for best use to benefit older adults living with frailty.

Use the form below to provide your thoughts on issues concerning medication and frail older adults and opportunities for change and improvement. Your input by March 17th would be appreciated.

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