Grant program announced for services that help older adults

Up to six one-year grants, worth $500,000 each, will be made to organizations successfully proposing programs that directly benefit older adults.

The grant will be issued by the Aokland, Calif.-based Center for Technology and Aging, which has released application guidelines for the Medication Optimization Diffusion Grants Program. Four or five of the grants will be used to benefit California seniors, while one or two grants may be issued to organizations in other parts of the country.

"Medication-related errors are taking a terrible toll on the health and lives of older adults," said David Lindeman, PhD, director of the Center for Technology and Aging. "Of the 3 billion medication prescriptions issued each year in the U.S., 12 percent are never picked up by the patient and 40 percent are not taken correctly.”

In addition, he said, older adults too often receive duplicate prescriptions or prescriptions that have not been safety-checked for drug interactions. Effective tools and technologies already exist to greatly reduce these problems, he added.

Medication optimization refers to a wide variety of technologies designed to help manage medication information, dispensing, adherence and tracking. They are particularly applicable for the elderly and people with chronic illnesses or complicated medication regimens and can help avoid or delay a move from the home or community-based setting.

"Ultimately, medication optimization technologies can lead to significant improvements in the cost and quality of care for older adults." said Lindeman.

Programs eligible for grants must use technologies that are ready to be used more broadly. Grantees will be expected to have prior experience with medication optimization technologies and will need to demonstrate a positive and measurable impact in the near term, including reducing the likelihood that older adults will be moved to more intensive, high-cost care settings. Most importantly, programs receiving grants will need to propose a strategy for successfully integrating their technology into the fabric of state and national health care delivery and reimbursement systems.

The deadline for letters of intent is Friday, Oct. 2. Applicants will be notified of their selection to submit a full proposal by Oct. 14. The anticipated start date for grants is Jan. 1, 2010.

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