National Survey of Medication Practices in Assisted Living

Earlier this year the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL, published results from a national survey of medication practices in assisted living. Below is a press release from CEAL that includes the major findings of the survey:

National Survey Shows Assisted Living Helps Seniors

February 2008

FALLS CHURCH, VA. – A decisive majority of assisted living residents receive help in taking their medications from assisted living staff according to a new national survey of assisted living professionals.

A survey conducted for the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL), a consortium of 11 national organizations representing provider and consumer interests in assisted living, shows that an overwhelming majority of assisted living providers have adopted practices aimed at ensuring safety and consistency in medication management for their residents.

The data show that 74 percent of assisted living providers make sure doctors or registered nurses review lab data for residents; 68 percent use consultant pharmacists and 67 percent use blister cards or pillow packs from primary pharmacies. This type of packaging is a safeguard to ensure residents receive correct medication dosage.

More than half of the respondents said that between 80 and 100 percent of their residents received assistance in taking medication while 23 percent said between 60 and 79 percent of their residents received some assistance.

The data was released at a one day symposium on medication management in assisted living in Washington as part of an ongoing effort to promote high quality in assisted living. The symposium focused on three areas; prescribing, dispensing and administration of medication.

The survey of 547 assisted living professionals was conducted by CEAL.

This invitation only gathering, co-hosted by HealthCom Media, publisher of Assisted Living Consult, featured presentations and discussions by a wide range of participants including assisted living nurses and nurse practitioners, physicians, medication aides, assisted living executive directors, consumers and their advocates and researchers and policy analysts.

Assisted living communities allow frail seniors to remain independent by providing assistance in the activities of daily life, such as dressing and medication reminders. Dramatic advances in pharmacology help seniors manage chronic disease and remain healthier and independent longer. The symposium discussions will form the basis of a white paper on findings and recommendations to be published in the spring of 2008.

Assisted living is the fastest growing long term care option for seniors in the United States. In the past 25 years, the industry has evolved and matured in response to consumer demand for a quality residential long term care option. More than one million seniors live in assisted living communities in the United States.

The symposium was sponsored by AARP; Medicine-On-Time, the prescription system company; Omnicare, a provider of pharmaceutical services for seniors; and Boehringer-Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Eisai/Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis, Wyeth and Watson, the pharmaceutical companies.

CEAL grew out of the work of the Assisted Living Workgroup, an initiative of the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging in 2001 to develop recommendations for high quality assisted living. CEAL operates an on line national clearinghouse of information on assisted living, acts as a resource center for the field and encourages research to maintain and improve the quality of assisted living communities and services.

The clearinghouse can be found at CEAL’s web site at It provides one stop shopping for the latest materials and information on assisted living. The platform includes research findings, best practices, consumer information by state, links, media articles, training and educational materials and expert opinion pieces.

CEAL, a non-profit collaborative includes representatives from AARP, Alzheimer’s Association, American Assisted Living Nurses Association, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, American Seniors Housing Association, Assisted Living Federation of America, Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living, National Center for Assisted Living, NCB Capital Impact, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Pioneer Network.

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