Civic review of the process of pharmacological treatment of the elderly in Poland
human rights
City (headquarters):
Voivodeship (headquarters):
01-02-2021 - 31-01-2023
Project cost:
26 871,00 EUR
26 871,00 EUR
Types of activities:
social actions and campaigns, watchdog activities, use the effects of monitoring to conduct advocacy or intervention activities
Target groups:
health professionals, elderly

The project addresses the problem of discrimination against the elderly in access to medical services in Poland and poly-pragmasy, i.e. the phenomenon of substitution of specialised and comprehensive geriatric care by multi-drug therapy. Studies have shown that older people take an average of 2-10 medicines per day. Attending different specialists and using multiple, often mutually exclusive, medicines puts them at greater risk of serious drug reactions that threaten their health and life. However, the health care system does not assume cooperation between different specialists or integration of treatment. Moreover, geriatrics accounts for only 1% of services for the elderly in the public health system. In the entire Podlaskie Voivodeship, there are only 17 places in the only geriatric ward in Białystok.

Under the project, a study of the practice of pharmacological treatment of the elderly in Poland was carried out, on the basis of which a report was prepared. Project Promoter prepared an educational campaign to raise public awareness of the problem of multidrug use, including infographics, two webinars, four films and a mailing campaign. Two media conferences and a scientific and training conference were also held in Bialystok, attended by 160 people from 40 institutions. A brochure for patients (Healthy Senior Passport) was also prepared. The Project Promoter participated in a regional seniors’ forum where it promoted the brochure and gave a lecture to 300 seniors. A committee consisting of representatives from key medical and social institutions and organisations was also established to provide expert support to the Project Promoter in the implementation of the project. ‘Guidelines for geriatric pharmacotherapy – Handbook for physicians’ were developed and the recommendations were submitted to parliament.

As a result of the project, the subject of respecting the rights of the elderly in the health care system in Poland was brought into the public debate and the medical community was inspired to cooperate in this area and introduce changes. It also led to some systemic changes – the Supreme Chamber of Physicians declared the introduction of workshops on the criteria of pharmacotherapy for the elderly to the training programme, and the National Health Fund took an interest in the project. The project has benefited both the medical community, especially doctors and health care institutions, and the elderly – patients .

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