10 tips for Safe Medication Management

As we get older, our needs grow, and we often require a little bit of additional support to get through the day-to-day. Some of those who need additional care opt for private home care or care at home services, where dedicated staff can conduct daily or weekly visits to help with assisting with medication, general well-being tasks and personal care and hygiene support.

Care at home services can help older people to continue to live their life somewhat independently, but with some additional care and support to help with their daily tasks. One of the biggest areas of support needed by older people is assisting with medication. Below is a list of tips designed to help yourself or anyone whom you care for with administering and monitoring medication safely.

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Gather all medications into one location

If the medications are stored in different places, it can be easy to lose track of the prescribed meds and how regularly you have been taking them. Additionally, if you have several medications, you must take daily, you may find storing all the medications together in a plastic storage box easier to stay organised. Use a separate storage box for backup medication supply or medicines that are only used occasionally.

Medication storage

Whoever makes the decision to move someone to a care home must think about why it is in the best interests of the person with dementia. For more on making this decision see How do you know if someone needs to move into a care home? later in this factsheet. The person should be involved in the discussion too, if possible, even if they don’t have the capacity to make the decision themselves. This is because they are likely to have preferences and feelings about the decision.

Many carers, family members or friends will also have an idea about what the person with dementia would want. You might be the people who know the person best or have talked to them about what they want for the future. You should be consulted where possible and should say what you think the person would want.

Create and maintain an up-to-date medication list

To prevent negative drug interactions, it’s essential to know exactly what medications your elderly resident needs and takes. For this reason, it is incredibly important to create and keep a list of their medications. That’s why it’s so important to always have an up-to-date list of their medications, vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter medications.

Make sure to record:

  • Names of each prescription medication
  • over-the-counter medication
  • vitamins and supplements taken
  • How often each item is taken
  • What dosage of each item is prescribed
  • The healthcare provider who prescribed each prescription medication
  • The purpose of each item and/or symptoms it’s supposed to treat
  • Whether each item is for short-term or long-term use

Double check for negative drug interactions

Many older adults can take multiple medications, vitamins, over-the-counter medications, or supplements. This is why it is so important to make sure none of them can cause negative drug interactions when taken together. To be completely sure, you can double-check with your doctor about your medication. Also, you can use an online drug interaction checker

To make sure there aren’t any interactions that the doctor or pharmacist could have missed, use an online drug interaction checker. Such as this one https://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html

If any interactions are found or you experience any side effects or worrying symptoms; call the doctor or pharmacist for advice immediately. Do not adjust your medication without discussing it with doctors.

Pre-sort weekly medications

Organisation is key to good medication management. You can stay on top of this by using a pill organiser to help keep your elderly relative or patient up to date with what they need to take daily or weekly. Our care staff can assist with the administration of pre-sorted medications that are in a pharmacy prepared dosette box or blister pack.

Make sure medication instructions are clear

When medicating yourself and others, you should always follow the instructions given to you by the doctor. This will hopefully avoid any negative drug interactions, side effects or reduction of the drug’s effectiveness. Make sure you and the older adult understand fully which medications are safe to take together, and which ones require spacing out, if they need to be taken with food or on an empty stomach.

If there’s any uncertainty, don’t be afraid to ask the doctor for explanations and detailed instructions to avoid issues. It is the doctor’s job to maintain your health, therefore any questions should not be a problem for them to answer.

 

Set up a medication reminder and tracking system

When you have so many medications to take it can be hard to remember which ones you need to take and when. Installing a medication reminder system can help with tracking and logging what you’ve taken, and when you need to take your other meds.

A good way of recording this could be creating a simple chart with medication names and doses, the day and time of the day. You can record with a check mark or an X in the box. Additionally, pivotell dosette boxes have built in alarms to aid with medication administration.

Understand the side effects of the medication

It’s important to understand the potential side effects and drug interactions for each medication. This can alert you to an issue before it develops further. When taking a new medication, you should be aware of possible side effects and keep an eye on your health to make sure it hasn’t affected you negatively. If you do notice changes or problems, contact their doctor as soon as possible. Common side effects can increase risk of falling, upset stomach, pain or weakness, etc.

Adults with Alzheimer’s and/or dementia

Adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia can require additional care and a home care agency who offer private home care could be the best solution. Alternatively, if they would benefit from closer care, a care home may be the best solution to avoid them getting in any danger. Both of these services will offer fantastic help with assisting with medication and performing daily tasks.

Alzheimer’s and dementia patients may experience heightened confusion when taking and managing their medications, which is why it is especially important to provide them with care when taking medications. They may not be able to stick to the above reminders and systems you put in place, and as such, they should be monitored by an individual who can help administer their medications daily.

Plan for medication refills

When taking long term prescriptions, it is important to remember to re-order and pick up refills so you’re never in danger of running out or missing a dose.

medication assistance

Would you like further information?

If you would like more details about our Alzheimer’s or Dementia care services, please do not hesitate to call us on 01386 41492 or filling out the form.

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