Cannabis and elderly care.
It is difficult to ignore the buzz around Medical Marijuana. One area, in particular, is of interest in our area, cannabis, and elderly care.
In Florida, and locally in Fort Myers, we are seeing the benefits of our state decision to Legalize Marijuana for medical purposes. One particular population that is sure to see the benefits of these legislative changes is our seniors.
Unfortunately, Seniors and their caregivers are often confused about where to go for information, and who to trust to process and proceed in this therapy. That’s is why Abby Services is happy to help.
Abby Services has chosen to continue their mission of patient education and advocacy by helping seniors and their families navigate their medical marijuana journey.
By helping families to navigate cannabis and elderly care Abby Services hopes to help a population who may be ignored see the benefits of this ancient treatment.
Apparently, we aren’t alone in seeing the potential benefits of medical marijuana and CBD. The following is an excerpt from an article of a Nursing Home in Florida that is beginning a groundbreaking program.
Morse Life Receives Approval To Offer CBD Therapies For ElderCare
By Daniel Casciato
Across the country, medical marijuana has become accepted as a treatment alternative in several different nursing homes for residents who have chronic conditions. If a current pilot program goes well, Florida could soon make cannabis available to statewide nursing homes as well.
Earlier this year, MorseLife Health System became the only senior living provider in Florida to offer cannabinoid-based (CBD) therapies for its residents as an alternative to pharmaceuticals under a pilot program authorized by the state.
MorseLife manages a rehabilitation, independent living, assisted living, memory care, hospice, PACE (Program for all-inclusive care for the elderly) and home health care in West Palm Beach, serving more than 3,600 seniors per day.
As the only teaching nursing home in the state of Florida, the non-profit will conduct a medical marijuana research pilot program that will reduce and/or replace the use of certain pharmaceuticals with cannabinoid-based treatment and measure the impact of medical marijuana on certain diagnoses. The pilot program is expected to last 18 to 24 months and the initial target is to treat at least 50 patients.
The types of health conditions that may be treated as part of the study include depression, anxiety, agitation, sleep interruption, chronic pain and side-effects from treatments or conditions related to aging.
MorseLife President and CEO Keith Myers was excited that MorseLife was selected to participate in the pilot study.
“We can focus on ways to reduce opioid reliance, better manage the patient’s pain, increase appetite, reduce anxiety, and help reduce outbursts in memory care in patients with Alzheimer’s,” he says.
“Along the full continuum of care, MorseLife is uniquely qualified to introduce these new therapies for alleviating pain and other debilitating conditions in a safe and controlled environment,” he adds. “It is essential to evaluate their applications, recognizing that our findings may lead to evidence-based treatments for the future.”
Prior to joining the program, older adults will be evaluated as to their ability to benefit from cannabinoid-based therapies to reduce the reliance on pharmaceuticals and opioids.
Individuals in any of the MorseLife care settings, including assisted living, short term rehabilitation, long term care, memory care and hospice, may participate in the program, however no federal funds may be used to pay for the resources associated with medical marijuana treatment.
Local physician Melanie K. Bone, M.D., who specializes in CBD treatment and has been authorized by the state of Florida to order medical marijuana, will lead the program. Dr. Bone is currently educating the residents, family members and employees on the benefits of CBD treatment, click here to buy online and enjoy the benefits of CBD.
Myers says that one of the challenges residents who plan to take cannabis face is the stigma of using medical marijuana.
“Seniors tend to look down on the use of cannabis,” he says. “It has a taboo to it.”
That’s one of the reasons why they have incorporated an education phase of the pilot program, Myers adds.
“Following this phase, the physician and patient will decide what type of CBD product will be appropriate for the patient’s illness and then we will begin to study the effects,” he says. “Another challenge that patients will have to overcome is deciding to take CBD versus a medication that has had a known impact on the symptoms of their diagnosis.”
The study has the potential to revolutionize treatment protocols for multiple illnesses affecting senior citizens by using cannabinoids to reduce the side-effects, addiction rate, and cost of standard medical protocols using opioids.
“At the conclusion of this study, we hope to see patients with improved outcomes, better quality of life, and less drug interactions,” says Myers. “I hope it will ultimately become part of the preferred treatment over a reliance of opioids.
Abby Services supports families seeking information on cannabis and elderly care.
Scott Strachan is co-owner of Abby Services and also has over 21 years of nursing experience. In his work with local seniors in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, Scott Strachan RN was seeing a trend.
Far too many seniors were suffering from pain, anxiety, insomnia, and other afflictions commonly treated with medical marijuana. Through his discussions with the seniors served, he was finding that seniors were curious about the benefits of cannabis and elderly care, but were either intimidated about the process and stigma of marijuana as medicine or had tried and failed to use marijuana as medicine.
Abby Services saw this as an educational opportunity and began meeting with seniors to help them through the process of obtaining a medical marijuana card and supporting them through their journey. This was accomplished through free support groups and personal consultations.
Scott Strachan RN had professional clinical experience with hospice, oncology, and general home care. He saw the many opportunities where cannabis could help to support the elderly.
Unfortunately with COVID the in-person medical marijuana consultations and support groups hosted and provided by Abby Services were put on standby. However, Abby Services recommends anyone considering medical marijuana contact Dr. Sonn and his team at The Iona Cannabis Clinic. They have a well-informed staff who are there to help. AARP also has some informative articles on medical marijuana.