The sickest of the Norwegian elderly live in nursing homes. The high number of children born in the years after the Second World War are about to be defined as elderly, and the expected lifetime for the Norwegian population is still increasing. Thus there has lately been an increased focus from the media on drug related problems involving nursing home patients. Nursing home patients are predisposed to suffer from serious side effects from drug treatment because of their multimorbidity and reduced homeostatic capacity.
The aim of this thesis is to give a description of how one can avoid drug related problems in nursing home patients. A systematic search for relevant literature was performed with the assistance of a medical librarian in January 2010. In addition the thesis is based on selected articles received from the tutor. The first main chapter of the thesis gives information about the complexity of drug treatment as regards this particular patient group whilst the second and largest chapter describes proposed changes to prevent drug related problems amongst nursing home patients.
Not surprisingly the thesis emphasizes the need for an improved quality in the drug treatment of nursing home patients. The limited evidence base, the lack of systematic medication reviews and no statutory minimum standard for medical supervision in this patient group are only three of the many examples. Although it is hard to predict the future it seems that a lot of changes are at the point of being made both politically and ethically due to a raising awareness of the wide extent of this particular problem.