Lack of Pharmacy Access May Send Some Seniors Back to Hospital

Limited access to pharmacies may be one reason hospital readmission is more common among older patients in rural, remote or smaller communities, a new study suggests. Hospital readmissions in the United States cost $17 billion a year and are a serious problem, according to researchers from Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Science University. They analyzed data from patients aged 65 and older in Oregon and focused on 507 pharmacies and 58 hospitals. The average rate of readmissions in rural areas was 15.3 percent, compared to 14.7 percent in cities, where pharmacies are more often open, the researchers found. However, the study only found an association between hospital readmissions and pharmacy availability.

In some rural parts of Oregon, the closest pharmacy may be 100 miles or more away. In one small Oregon community, the only pharmacy is open 54 hours a week. In comparison, people in some large cities can find numerous pharmacies that collectively are open more than 3,800 hours a week. The study was published online Aug. 1 in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.

Source/more: Health Day


David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

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