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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Hospice diagnosis: polypharmacy—a teachable moment.

Larson CK, Kao H. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(11):1750-1751.

Overprescribing can increase risk of dementia, particularly among older patients. This commentary describes an incident involving a patient with moderate dementia that worsened when opioids were prescribed following a fall. After a geriatrician evaluated the patient and suspected polypharmacy, the drugs were stopped, caregivers were educated about how to treat the patient, and the patient improved. Highlighting the importance of environmental interventions in treating this patient, the author reviews strategies to address neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia.