Aware Senior Care Blog
Why is medication management so important?
Mismanagement can lead to serious complications and prove more costly than preventative measures. Organize your medication and manage them with ease using our helpful tips!
Personally, we had never thought about whether or not our parents were taking their medications as ordered. After his stepdad Jack’s first stroke, Tim and I stayed with his Mom during those first frightening days. During this time, I noticed a number of medication bottles throughout their home.
With Mom’s permission, I collected all the medication bottles and sorted through them. We found over five dozen medications- half of them expired. The oldest medication was 15 years old! Jack had not been taking his medication correctly which was a major factor that led to his stroke.
Where do you start if you want to help a loved one get organized?
Getting Started in Medication Management
- Do a clean sweep – collect medications from all parts of the home. Remember, proper medication management starts with the home environment. Check the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers. Look in the pockets of clothes (especially robes), purses, the car, etc.
- Check the expiration date for each medicine. Place expired medications off to the side or into a box to keep them separate.
- Review the current medication list or create one if there isn’t one. Include the person’s drug allergies and today’s date on the list.
- Review the medication list and compare it to those medicines you have collected. Start with the prescription medicines.
- For each prescribed medicine: Check the pharmacy label on each prescribed medication on this list. Each should include: the name of the medicine, the dose prescribed, how many tablets/capsules/ml to take, how often to take it, the reason the medicine was prescribed, and special instruction, if any. Is a refill needed? When was the last refill? (Are they taking too few? Too much?).
- Add over the counter medications and supplements that are taken on a routine basis to the list. Are there enough on hand?
- Use one pharmacy for your medicines. If some medicines are mail ordered, be sure to let your local pharmacist know about them. Pharmacists will watch for medication interactions.
Further Considerations on the Medication Management Process
- Consider the use of a pillbox(es). There are various size boxes, some have alarms you can set as a reminder to take the medicines. The pillboxes keep the medicines organized. Missed doses are much easier to identify.
- Consider using a pharmacy that will prepackage the medicines into blister packs- at no additional charge. Some pharmacies will deliver the medicines to the home, at no charge as well including Health Park Pharmacy and Hayes Barton Pharmacy. Check out healthparkpharmacy.com and hayesbartonpharmacy.com for more information on these services.
- Help your loved one fill the pillboxes each week or buy more than one so you can do more weeks at the same time.
- Last, check each week- does your loved one take their medicine? Are any of the doses missing? Are there any side effects as a result of taking/not taking medication? Consider the use of timers or other reminders if needed.
- Above all, medicines cannot provide their benefits if not taken properly. Talk to your healthcare professional if there are concerns or questions about any medicine.
Have you been able to help a loved one with their medication management? What did you do? Please share your experiences and what worked for you and your loved one.