Below are a number of educational resources available to help health care professionals, caregivers, and families manage care for older adults.

Appropriate Prescribing for Older Adults

Beers Criteria: The Beers Criteria is a list of medications that has been updated through the years to assist practitioners, researchers, and policymakers with evaluating potentially inappropriate medications in older adults. It discusses high-risk medications, drug-disease interactions, as well as doses that should not be exceeded. Also available is American Geriatrics Society Beers Criteria Resources.

Merck Manual of Geriatrics: The Merck Manual offers an introduction to geriatric medicine. It includes information about safe drug use and prevention of diseases and disability in elderly people. It also gives a perspective on funding of health care and social issues in the elderly.

Renal function (Creatinine Clearance) Calculator: In order to ensure a safe use of medicines that are excreted through the kidney, the kidney function needs to be estimated. This is a tool to help prescribers calculate renal function.

Cultural Awareness

EthnoMed: This resource was developed by the University of Washington and "contains information about cultural beliefs, medical issues, and related topics pertinent to the health care of immigrants." The clinical topics and patient education sections are conveniently categorized by both topic and culture/language. There is also a compilation of resources on cross-cultural health.

Disposal of Drugs

FDA on Disposal of Unused Medicines: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) presents an updated overview on the proper disposal of medications, including drug take-back programs and disposing of medications at home. There is also a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section and a list of medicines recommended for disposal by flushing. They also have an internet resource on medication disposal for consumers.

Drug-Drug Interaction Identifiers

The following reference tools can be used to check drug-drug interactions. Enter the patient's medicines and the tool will notify you if any relevant drug-drug interactions are identified.

ElderCare Patient Education Series

Health Directory

Find a Physician (Little Blue Book): This health directory provides detailed contact information for physicians, pharmacies, and hospitals based on the zip code, city and state, or physician name entered by the user. The system requires you to signed up for a Medscape account (free of charge) to use this resource.

Health Literacy

AHRQ Health Literacy Tools: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) published two tools that can be used to assess health literacy. These tools include the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine-Short Form (REALM-SF) and the Short Assessment of Health Literacy for Spanish Adults (SAHLSA-50).

CDC Health Literacy for Older Adults: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a resource specific to older adults and health literacy issues. This section provides resources on "Guidance and Standards" for generating materials that will match the health literacy of the aging population. Examples include, but are not limited to, communication guidelines, web communication guidance, and health education tools.

"Know Your Medicines" Patient Education Series

The following helpful guides provide quick facts about the condition indicated, as well as steps that caregivers and family members can take to ensure that the older adults in their lives are using medications related to those conditions safely and effectively.

If you'd like to receive printed copies of the materials available here, please contact the Lamy Center at lamycenter@rx.umaryland.edu.

Medication Safety

Reducing Adverse Drug Events in the Elderly: The Delmarva Foundation provides a wide range of resources to illustrate the ways in which pharmacists can help reduce adverse drug events among older adults, including anticoagulation management, pain management, and other resources and educational sites.

A Systems Approach to Quality Improvement in Long-Term Care: Safe Medication Practices Workbook: The Safe Medication Practices Workbook outlines a medication management system in long-term care. It contains 15 sections, each highlighting a specific process within the system. Under each section is an explanation along with tools, reminders, and resources for that section. The sections include the areas of prescribing, dispensing, monitoring, educating residents and families, and much more. This workbook was developed by the Massachusetts Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors, Masspro, the Health Care Quality Improvement Organization for Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Extended Care Federation.

Pill Identifier

RxList Pill Identification Tool: This resource allows you to identify unknown pills; for example, when the original packing is missing. Enter the imprint, color, and/or shape of the pill and the system will present images of pills according to the description. Review the images in order to identify the unknown medication.

Reference Tools

Safe Medication Use for Older Adults

Download Safe Medicine Use: A Guide for Older Adults and Caregivers‌ for tips to help ensure that you are safely using your prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Substance Abuse and Misuse with Older Adults

At Any Age, It Does Matter: Substance Abuse and Older Adults (for Professionals): This modular course for health professionals working with older adult addresses the issue of substance misuse and abuse. The learning modules include recognizing alcohol/substance misuse and abuse, diagnosing substance problems in older adults, prevention and early intervention, treatment, and legal and ethical issues.

Managing Chronic Pain in Adults With or in Recovery From Substance Use Disorders: This publication, provided to the public by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), provides guidance in treating chronic pain in adults with or recovering from substance abuse disorders. It offers Treatment Improvement Protocols (TIPs) developed by the Center of Substance Abuse Treatment, an introduction in chronic pain and addiction, patient assessment tools, tools and guidelines in managing addiction risk in patients treated with opioids, and patient education and treatment agreements.

Suggested Readings

Additional Tools