Caregiver Interventions For Seniors Taking Anticoagulants

29 December 2022
 Categories: , Blog


Anticoagulant medications help prevent heart attacks and strokes because they reduce the risk of blood clots. They are especially beneficial for seniors who have atrial fibrillation, also known as a-fib. While effective in decreasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes, prescription anticoagulant drugs can cause dangerous side effects. If your senior family member lives by themselves and has other medical or cognitive deficits, consider hiring a senior home health care provider who can monitor their anticoagulant treatment. The in-home caregiver services professional can offer the following interventions to seniors taking anticoagulant drugs.

Side Effect Monitoring And Reporting

One of the most common side effects of prescription anticoagulants is abnormal bleeding because of their effects on blood platelet aggregation. Anticoagulants are often called "blood thinners," and while they do not actually thin the blood, they help prevent blood clotting.

Senior home health care providers can monitor anticoagulant patients for side effects such as abnormal bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and hematuria, also known as blood in the urine. Anticoagulants may also raise the risk of internal bleeding and resultant anemia.

Side effects for internal bleeding and anemia may include fast heart rate, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, pallor, and fainting. If the in-home caregiver notices any of these symptoms, they will notify the senior's family and call the physician. If the aging individual's side effects are severe, the caregiver can call an ambulance or drive the person to the hospital.

Dietary Interventions

People who take prescription anticoagulants may be advised to monitor their intake of vitamin K-rich foods, including kale, spinach, and broccoli. Vitamin K can alter the effects of anticoagulant drugs, making them less effective in reducing blood clot risk.

The senior home health care provider can prepare nutritious meals that are low in vitamin K, and if the aging adult takes vitamin and mineral supplements, the in-home caregiver can check the label to see if the product contains vitamin K. In addition, because many seniors who take anticoagulants have existing cardiovascular disease, the caregiver services professional can prepare heart-healthy meals to enhance optimal blood pressure, blood lipid profile, and kidney function. 

If your loved one takes prescription anticoagulants and needs assistance in the home, contact a senior home health care services provider. Once your questions and concerns have been answered and addressed, you and your family can then determine which caregiver services are appropriate for your loved one. 

Reach out to a senior home health care services provider to learn more.