Berks Visiting Nurse Association (Berks VNA) and Visiting Nurse Association of Pottstown and Vicinity (Pottstown VNA), non-profit organizations of Home Health Care Management, Inc. (HHCM), can now help dispose of unused prescription medications for families of its hospice patients.
“Disposing of unused medications adds a much-needed service for the families of our 400 hospice patients,” said Constance Morrison, President and CEO, HHCM. “It could also provide a tremendous help to our community as it struggles with an opioid epidemic.”
By placing prescription medication in a special pouch of water, Hospice staff and the patient’s family members can deactivate the medication and safely dispose it with normal trash. These drug disposal pouches were distributed as part of a joint project between Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office and the Pennsylvania Homecare Association.
“We know pain management is a huge part of end-of-life care, like hospice,” said Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks). “When the patient passes, families are often left with many prescription medications. Properly disposing those medications is not high on a family’s priority list when a loved one has passed, nor should it be. This will give Berks residents an easy way to ensure their loved one’s medicine won’t be abused.”
Due to the severity of pain and illnesses in hospice patients, opioids like morphine and fentanyl are often prescribed, which are dangerous if abused. Abuse of opioid medication is a common first step toward heroine abuse, which has increased exponentially in Pennsylvania.
“We’re so thankful to Attorney General Shapiro and the PHA for initiating a program that helps further our continuum of care and helps the community,” said Morrison.