Challenges in Caring for Aging Inmates

Wick, J.Y.; Zanni, G.R.

The Consultant Pharmacist 24(6): 424-436


DOI: 10.4140/tcp.n.2009.049
Accession: 068492717

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Today's prisons are vastly overcrowded and ill prepared for the fastest growing segment of the inmate population: those 50 years of age and older. Collectively, such inmates present with age-related illnesses earlier, and often their conditions are more complex than similar nonincarcerated people. Prisons focus on discipline and order; as a result, they have had to adapt to the health care needs of aging inmates, especially those with physical impairments. While some prisons have created special units for older inmates, demand for such units outpaces supply. Medication errors are common as is medication nonadherence. Continuity of care is compromised both within the system and at the point of community release. Regardless, the prison setting offers many opportunities for pharmacists to expand their practices in ways that are rewarding.