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Going Home with the Wrong Medications!

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

A trip to the emergency department is stressful enough. Now you are given new cardiac meds to take with no explanation. Where do you turn for help and clarification?

87-year-old Betty was admitted to the hospital through the emergency department with a sudden onset atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart rhythm), chest pressure, and feeling generally poor. Betty did her best to keep up with the medical questions, interventions, and terminology being thrown at her. After 24 hours, her condition was stabilized and she was sent home.

Standard procedure is to be sent home with discharge instructions, which include your current medication list and any new changes that have been made. These changes often clearly state, “continue taking these medications, stop taking these medications, begin taking these new medications.” The only new medication prescription that Betty was sent home with was Eloquis, which helps prevent blood clots. When she picked up her medications, there was a second cardiac medication that she had never taken, and that was not on her discharge instructions from the hospital.

Now here is the conundrum! The hospital emergency department no longer is responsible for Betty, and yet she hadn’t had her follow up visit with her cardiologist. There was no doctor or clinician to advise Betty.

Thankfully, Betty has Elder Advocates of CT, who quickly and relentlessly (but politely!) called and insisted on speaking with the cardiologist who saw Betty in the emergency department to question whether this new medication should be taken. She was NOT supposed to be on this medication ,and was advised not to take it. She also had not taken her Eloquis yet because she had been advised to follow up with her cardiologist before starting. The hospital did not schedule her follow up appointment, and her cardiologist could not see her for two weeks! When the cardiologist in the emergency department learned this, Betty was advised to begin taking her Eloquis right away.

Two life-saving clarifications with the medications were made to help Betty continue her recovery!

Need assistance with a family member or loved one with the challenges of aging? Reach out to Elder Advocates of CT by completing the very brief form below, sending an email to, or calling 203-626-2077.

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