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Survey: Caregivers’ need for education critical

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. Caring Today magazine jointly sponsored a caregiving survey this summer to find out exactly who that caregiving consumer is and what challenges he or she may face.—apture the care-givers’ prescription business, and the prescription business of those they’re caring for may fall into your pharmacy file as well. At least, that seems to be what CVS/pharmacy is setting the stage for—CVS and

According to the survey, the average caregiver is a 46-year-old woman, and she’s been caring for her loved one more than two years.

The person she’s caring for takes an average 4.5 prescription drugs (46 percent take five or more and 21 percent take eight or more). As many as three-quarters of the caregivers have their own prescriptions filled in the same pharmacy they use for their care recipient. According to the survey, 17.1 percent filled their prescriptions at a nearby Walgreens, and 16.5 percent had chosen CVS as their pharmacy of choice. Rite Aid and Eckerd combined tallied 8.9 percent of the business of those surveyed, while Wal-Mart captured 8.4 percent.

One of the greater needs of care-givers, with regard to their medication, is education—87 percent of respondents reported that understanding medication is very important to them.

Caregivers’ primary concerns are not knowing enough about how drugs interact (26 percent) and not being able to recognize side effects (21 percent).

Top treated conditions among caregivers

Source: Anderson Analytics survey of 514 qualified caregivers conducted spring 2007
Condition Sufferers
High blood pressure 45.5%
Depression 38.7
Arthritis 33.9
Diabetes 29.4
Heart disease 19.5
Osteoporosis 14.4
Alzheimer’s disease 12.3
Stroke 11.1
Cancer 9.7
Neurological disorder 8.0

“Caregiver confusion about medications is understandable, especially when administering more than one,” stated Papatya Tankut, vice president of pharmacy professional services at CVS/pharmacy. “Caregivers can have questions about side effects, adverse interactions and timing of dosages. We encourage them to discuss these questions with their pharmacists, in addition to the prescribing physician.”

However, the pharmacist is not necessarily the “go-to” source for that medicine information. The study revealed that only 46 percent of caregivers utilized their pharmacist as a key source of information about the medications their care recipient is taking, compared with 69 percent who consulted their doctor and 55 percent who conducted their own Internet research.

The survey also found that in less than 44 percent of responses, all of a person’s medicines are coordinated by one doctor, which could potentially translate into an increased risk of potential drug-drug interactions.

Most caregivers cited their doctor as the most effective way to ease concerns about medication (42 percent). Considerably fewer, 14 percent, reported talking to a pharmacist as an effective way to ease those concerns.

But getting easy-to-digest medical information from doctors for many caregivers proved challenging. Almost half, 49 percent, reported they wished to receive easier-to-understand medical information, and 35 percent expressed a desire to spend more time with their time-crunched doctors.

And in 20 percent of the cases, the care recipient’s prescriptions are filled at multiple pharmacies. Many of the care recipients also have more than one doctor— which translates into more stress for the caregiver, the survey found. Consequently, an opportunity may exist for pharmacies to assist caregivers in coordination efforts. “To avoid potential interactions, caregivers should inform their doctor and pharmacist of all the prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies and vitamins a patient is taking,” Tankut advised.

Only 26 percent of respondents found themselves prepared for the role of caregiver, and the ones who were prepared were significantly less likely to experience feelings of depression, the survey found. Prepared caregivers also were significantly more likely than unprepared caregivers to eat properly, feel focused and continue to see friends. “While it’s difficult for anyone to really be prepared to take on the monumental challenge of being the primary caregiver for someone, this study shows that it’s never too early to start thinking that one day this might be a reality—and to start learning about resources out there to help,” stated Victor Imbimbo, president and chief executive officer of Caring Today.

In an effort to better prepare that caregiver, CVS this summer went live with its “Extra Care for Caregivers” at www.-cvs.com/care, a Web site that features caregiver frequently asked questions and a downloadable medication management tool.

In addition, caregivers visiting the site can link to such additional services as power of attorney forms and the National Council on Aging’s Benefits CheckUp tool, a tool that can be used to enroll in federal, state, local and private programs to help pay for prescription drugs, utility bills, meals, health care and other needs.

The CVS/pharmacy and Caring Today 2007 Caregiver Insights Study conducted by Anderson Analytics was an online survey of 514 adults, 18 years of age and over, fielded between April 26 and May 20.

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Kroger appoints Going as Michigan division president

BY Adam Kraemer

CINCINNATI The Kroger Co. announced Wednesday that it has named Rick Going president of the company’s new Michigan division.

Kroger currently operates 138 stores in the state; Going will oversee operations in them, effective immediately.

During his 26-year tenure with Kroger, Going has held a number of district- and division-level leadership positions at the store and has served as vice president of Retail Operations and vice president of Merchandising for Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division.

“Rick brings extensive experience in operations and merchandising to this new role,” said Don McGeorge, Kroger’s president and chief operating officer. “We look forward to his leadership as he works with our associates to build on Kroger’s growth in Michigan by focusing on our customers to create even better shopping experiences for them.”

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NACDS responds to “misleading” New York Times article

BY DSN STAFF

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has fired back at The New York Times after the publication ran an article in its Sept. 18 issue titled, “The ‘Poisonous Cocktail’ of Multiple Drugs.”

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

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