Appropriate Prescribing & Medication Use Strategy for Older Albertans, Seniors Health SCNTM

Alberta Continuing Care Act Effective April 1, 2024

References to continuing care (including home care, designated supportive living, long term care and hospice) may not reflect the updated language or terms found in the new Alberta Continuing Care Act effective April 1, 2024. Refer to the Continuing Care Glossary for definitions.


The appropriate prescribing and use of medications in older Albertans is a priority for the Seniors Health Strategic Clinical Network (SH SCN). Increasing medication use in older persons or polypharmacy, results in greater risk of side effects and interactions which adversely impact well-being for older Albertans, some of which may culminate into hospitalizations and emergency department visits. With a doubling of the older adult population in Alberta expected in twenty years, a systems approach is needed to reduce the harms of unnecessary medication use and mitigate health system costs.

The Appropriate Prescribing and Medication Use Strategy for Older Albertans (APMUSOA) strategy document has been created as a guide to achieve a systems approach in implementation of initiatives across diverse health care settings such as acute care/ hospital, primary care, community and continuing care. Highlights of key themes in the Strategy include:

  • Inclusion of patient and family in care decisions about medications
  • Improved communication between providers, patients, families and caregivers
  • Addressing the educational needs of healthcare professionals, patients and families in the care of older adults
  • Optimizing the role and scope of interdisciplinary health team members
  • Access to medication information in health records across care settings
  • Optimizing the use of information technology
  • Utilization of regulatory levers and policy

The following classes of medications were identified as priorities in APMUSOA as identified by Alberta stakeholders

  • Benzodiazepines and Z-Drugs
  • Anticholinergic agents
  • Opioids
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
  • Antidepressants
  • High Blood Pressure Medications
  • Blood thinners
  • Antimicrobials

Supporting Resources

How Much is Too Much? - Dusty’s Story

This story follows the experiences of one caregiver as she supports her aging parents.

Get Involved

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Become a Patient and Family Advisor to Advocate for Appropriate Prescribing and Medication Use in Older Albertans
  • Participate in the Appropriate Prescribing Community of Practice
  • Provide your expertise as part of a physician group

Share Your Ideas

  • Do you have feedback, ideas or initiatives that support appropriate prescribing and medication use for older adults? We would love to hear from you.
  • Contact us with your ideas: big or small.
  • Complete the Appropriate Prescribing and Medication Use - Intake Tool or contact us by email (see below).

Contact Us

Email: seniorshealth.scn@ahs.ca