Statement from University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital

Emily’s moving story has reinforced for caregivers at our health system the importance of making patient health and safety our highest aspiration. We support the goal of the Emily Jerry Foundation to save lives by reducing and eliminating the human error component of medicine.

Our physicians, nurses and staff have dedicated their lives to helping our patients get well and stay well. We embrace a culture that encourages our caregivers to speak up when they see a potential patient safety issue.

Shortly following the event, the patient’s father addressed our hospital staff during our Patient Safety Week observance. We acted quickly to structure our operations in full compliance with Emily’s Law, its requirements and spirit – including comprehensive education for pharmacy staff. As we serve our community, we continue to emphasize quality and patient safety in all aspects of medical care and treatment.

Your Parent Has Dementia: What to Talk to Their Doctor About

Make sure all their doctors are aware of all the medications she is taking.

Q: My mom is 94 and has dementia. She is taking a whole medicine cabinet-full of medications and I think they actually make her fuzzier. How should I talk to her various doctors about what she is taking and if she can get off some of the meds? — Gary R., Denver, Colorado

A: Many dementia patients are taking what docs call a "polypharmacy" — three or more medications that affect their central nervous system. And we really don't know how that mixture truly affects each individual person.

A new study in JAMA Network that looked at more than 1 million Medicare patients found almost 14% of them were taking a potentially harmful mix of antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, benzodiazepines such as Valium and Ativan, nonbenzodiazepine benzodiazepine receptor agonist hypnotics such as Ambien or Sonata, and opioids. And almost a third of those folks were taking five or more such medications. The most common medication combination included an antidepressant, an antiepileptic, and an antipsychotic. Gabapentin was the most common medication — often for off-label uses, such as to ease chronic pain or treat psychiatric disorders, according to the researchers from the University of Michigan.

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