Getting a prescription filled is not enough these days. You have to actually take the medication at the right dose and at the right time.
50% of people who are given a prescription do not take it as prescribed. They either forget doses (either accidentally or deliberately) or take more than directed. A majority of senior hospitalizations today are either from falls caused by medication side effects or from issues related to poor medication management. Fortunately, there is an easy fix to this problem.
A pill box is a special container used for organizing medication. The device is also used to help people avoid mix ups and missed doses. With approximately 35% of people aged 75 and over taking 3 or more prescription drugs a day, this tool comes in handy. Many pill box models not only have sections for each individual day, but for the time of day as well, which ensures that seniors will always take the right pills at the right time.
Pill Management is one of the most time consuming job duties of home caregivers. They are responsible for getting the prescriptions filled and steadfastly making sure there are no adverse effects. Tracking and sorting all of the pills, liquids, creams, nasal sprays and eye drops — as well as administering them is equally as exhausting. However, pill management does not have to be this way. The key to medication-management survival is organization!
The following are some strategies that our home care providers in Vancouver and surrounding areas use and recommend for keep the meds organizers, especially if a pill box is purchased. This will ensure proactive medication management for both the caregivers and their clients.
1. Create an Updated Comprehensive and Supplementary List
An all-inclusive list ensures that a caregiver will seldom forget anything while filling the pill boxes and that there is quick access to the information, if the need arises. In addition, caregivers are advised to keep a copy of the medication in the pill box in a folder that they can easily bring to doctor’s appointments or hospital visits, so that they do not have to tug all the medication with them 24/7.
The list should include the following:
• Name of medication and strength (e.g., 600 mg Tylenol 3)
• Prescribing physician and contact information
• Purpose (e.g., blood pressure, thyroid, dementia, blood thinner, bone density or pain)
• Dosage (e.g., 25 mg, 2x/day)
• Comments (such as the generic name, special instructions, whether the med is on auto-refill from their mail-order prescription company or the date I’ll need to call to refill)
2. Use Palm Sized Pill Boxes When Going Out
When going on outings with friends and family, many seniors and their caregivers opt to transfer their medication into Ziploc bags. This strategy is ineffective as these bags can easily get lost. The seal is also not seal proof, which means that medication could slip out of the bag. Fortunately, retailers and pharmacies now sell small, circular pill boxes that are discreet in design and hold 4-5 large pills. These containers are also very easy to pop into your bag to make sure they do not get lost when running errands.
3. Couple Pills with Clients’ Routine
Seniors are more likely to forget or skip doses because taking pills is not part of their normal routine. To help them remember, home care providers and family caregivers can pair a medication with an activity the client does regularly or at a certain time of day. They might also keep a daily diary or journal in which they write down the medicines and their schedules so that all members of the care team are on the same page. The journal may also include chart and they may check off each medicine after they are taken.
The bottom line: Create a system that works for everyone involved and ensures that the correct medications are being taken at the right times. A little organization can save lives, ease pain and make for an improved quality of life.
Ace Personnel | Professional Caregivers for Seniors & Homecare | Vancouver & Surrey
ACE Personnel is a family owned and operated service founded in 1977 by Diane Anderson (“Mrs.A) . It began as a home based business and has since been devoted to helping the local community with childcare and home care solutions. Mrs. A took great pride in the fact that she was able to help others through elderly care and nanny placements. She took time to get to know her each of her clients and as a result developed lasting relationships with many of them.