For seniors that want to live independently, in their own homes, for as long as possible, medication management is key.
According to the Canadian Institute of Health Information, seniors over the age of 65, take as many as 5-10 medications daily. This is referred to as polypharmacy. In such instances, ensuring that medication is taken in the right doses and at the right time can be tricky or even challenging, especially, when dealing with a variety of different prescriptions and dosage amounts.
As such, medication management is the key to keeping these seniors safe, healthy, and active. This comprehensive guide showcases why medication management is vital for seniors and provides helpful tips that can help caregivers effectively carry out their care plans.
Why Is Medication Management Essential For Seniors?
Did you know that nearly half a million Canadians are hospitalized every year as a result of adverse drug events? Mismanagement of care plans and inappropriate medications can be potentially life-threatening for patients, especially, older adults.
Statistics show that nearly one in five seniors in Canada fail to take their medications as prescribed. As seniors can take multiple medications, supplements, and vitamins to maintain health, medication mix-ups are unfortunately more common than you may think.
Even the simplest of mix-ups can prove to be dangerous or even fatal. This is why medication management is so vital for seniors who live independently. Measures can be taken to ensure that the aged loved one is getting the medication they need when they need it (no more, no less).
How To Improve Medication Management?
When caring for seniors who are dependent upon polypharmacy, you need to be smart and meticulous in the manner that you approach their care plan. Hence, we have compiled a step-by-step guide to help caregivers and seniors with the process.
Step 1 - Make A List
Always keep a list of every type of medication and supplement that the doctor has prescribed along with notes about what that medication's purpose is and its associated side effects. The more knowledge you have about what each medication’s use is, the better prepared you can be in case of any mix-ups. Pharmacies can assist with this. Ask your pharmacy to print a listing of all current medications, making it easy to have the information current and in one place. Another point to note is that it’s best to have all prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy so that the pharmacist can watch for any potential drug interactions.
Step 2 - Organization
Make sure that all the medication that seniors need is organized and labeled in large writing. Dispose of older medication prescriptions and/or any expired drugs. Only keep current medication on hand.
Step 3 - Administration
Always seek to simplify administration processes. A dosette from a local pharmacy or dollar store can help to organize pills, but this requires family or the senior themself to organize the week’s doses. Many pharmacies now offer blister packaging for free. This pre-dosed packaging simplifies knowing which pills to take and alleviates the need for seniors or their caregivers to worry about doing it themselves.
Step 4 - Planning & Scheduling
The best way to ensure that seniors are adhering to their medication compliance is to get them an automatic medication dispenser. This will make life easier for them and a whole lot easier for you.
Medication dispensers such as the ones offered by Northwood Intouch can hold up to 28 doses at a time. All one has to do is fill in each compartment with the prescribed medication, and program the device to dispense the correct dose at the appropriate time.
Modern dispensing systems allow both caregivers and seniors to have more liberty and freedom without having to compromise on their daily medical needs.
Just make sure you restock the dispenser after the 28 doses are complete. If the doctor changes the patient's prescription or alters the timing simply reprogram the unit accordingly.
Using this simple device, complex medication regimes can become a whole lot easier to manage. It can also result in reduced medication errors and safer medication management for seniors.
Step 5 - Storage
Always store extra medication in an enclosed place, preferably a cabinet or a drawer. Make sure the place is dark, cool, and dry. High-risk medication should be kept separately and out of reach so as to avoid any mix-ups or misuse.
Trying to keep up with complex medication schedules for seniors can seem overwhelming at times. However, using our guide you too can have the freedom and peace of mind knowing that their care plan is well taken care of.
For more information on medication management and other helpful tips and recommendations regarding senior care visit Northwood Intouch.