Does your aging parent or grandparent have a cupboard shelfset aside for medication? As the prescriptions stack up, medication management becomesmore challenging for the patient and their caregivers. Not only do you need tokeep track of dosages, but you also need to know when it’s time for a refill.
An organized system is critical to keep your loved one safeand healthy. When you are implementing new processes for medication management,you need to keep a few important goals in mind:
· Maintain a medication inventory
· Track and update medication schedules
· Talk to doctors about side effects
· Set reminders for timing and dosages of eachmedication
Setting up medication management for seniors can take a bitof work. But it’s worth the effort to implement processes that protect yourloved one.
What is Medication Management?
Medication management is a method of organizing prescriptionmedications to ensure a patient is taking the right dosages at the right time.This system also tracks the results of medication usage to determine the effectivenessof their desired therapeutic outcome.
While medication management typically focuses onprescription drugs, it’s also important to evaluate how over-the-counterdosages interact as well. A doctor can provide recommendations for ongoingmedication use. Then, the patient, family, and caregivers should have amedication management plan in place to implement these recommendations.
Why is Medication Management Important?
Medication management affects a patient’s overall health byhelping patient meet their healthcare goals. Proper use of these medicationsreduces side effects, decreases risk for the patient, and helps to minimize thepossibility of drug interactions.
According to a study completed by JAMA Internal Medicine,approximately 80% of aging adults use a minimum of two prescription medicationsregularly. 36% of the senior population uses five or more prescriptions. Themore medications a person is using, the higher the risk of complications andinteractions – which is why it’s important to implement effective medicationmanagement strategies.
7 Medication Management Tips for Seniors
Setting up a medication management system doesn’t have to becomplicated. Instead, consider these medication management tips to find thesolutions that will work best for your needs:
1. Choose a Central Location: Ifprescription bottles are scattered from the bathroom to the kitchen, it can behard to find the right medication when it’s needed. Start by dedicating aspecific place in the house for all prescriptions and over the countermedications. For example, clear a shelf in the kitchen cupboard that is easyfor adults to access, but out of reach from children in the house. Considerplacing all the bottles in a clear plastic storage container, with a separatecontainer for medications that are only used occasionally.
2. Keep the Original Packaging: It’s best tokeep medications in their original packaging so you can see the dosageinstructions, expiration date, and product information. Check the labels to seeif specific storage is required, such as refrigeration.
3. Create a Medication List: Compiling alist of medications gives you a quick-reference sheet to know essentialinformation such as names of the medication, how often it is taken, dosageamount, the prescribing doctor, and the purpose of the medication.
4. Double Check Possible Interactions: Youcan find online tools to check for drug interactions. It’s also a good idea totalk to the patient’s doctor or pharmacist about the comprehensive list ofmedications. If any interactions are found, then adjustments can be made in themedication schedule to protect the patient’s health.
5. Sort Daily and Weekly Doses: Invest in apillbox labeled with the days of the week. If the person takes multiple doseseach day, you might need a container with up to 28 compartments – allowing for4 doses per day for the entire week. At the beginning of the week, pre-sort themedications so they are ready to go. If needed, split pills during this sortingtime so the patient doesn’t need to fumble with a pill cutter throughout the day.
6. Set Up Reminders and a Tracking System: Atracking log is essential to know if the patient has taken the correctmedications at the right times. Additionally, reminder notifications ensurethat the person remembers when it’s time to take the next dose. It’s helpful touse a digital platform for all family members and caregivers to share. Pillar offers a streamlinedmedication management system. Use this simple app to personalize your lovedone’s medication schedule digitally.
7. Update Medication Management as Needed:It’s inevitable that prescription changes will happen as the patient’s healthchanges. Be proactive in updating this medication management system regularlyas needed.
These medication management tips are just a piece of thebigger system needed to organizeyour family life. You also must consider other life decisions such ascomparing assistedliving vs nursing home, implementing an importantdocuments organizer, and selecting the right types of trusts.Pillar Life provides a platform that simplifies the process of navigatingend-of-life care – giving family members and caregivers the support neededduring this important time of life.