Medication Management: Accuracy and Adherence
If your senior loved ones are in the majority when it comes to taking medications, their daily regimen includes at least five different prescriptions – and, half are taking as many as 10 – 19 pills each day, according to the Express Scripts Research & New Solutions Lab. Alarmingly, the adherence rates when more than five medications are prescribed is less than 47%.
In this fourth of our 7-part blog series provided by the registered nurses at Nightingale Homecare, we’d like to share some tips to help seniors better manage their medications and adhere to doctors’ orders:
- Medications should be routinely reviewed with your loved one’s physician(s), especially when the patient has a chronic disease or is on many medications, medications that must be adjusted frequently, or is cared for by numerous specialists.
- Check dosages, expiration dates, accuracy of the medication, and potential interactions. It is equally important to check your loved one’s use of over-the-counter medications or naturopathic medications, which may seem “harmless” to many seniors, but can have unanticipated health-altering effects, especially when used with other prescribed medications or with certain health conditions.
- Keep a current, complete list of all prescribed and over-the-counter medications with your older loved one, not only for his/her reference, but to present during each physician or hospital visit to verify accuracy and review instructions. Include with this medication list any special conditions, allergies, and the names and phone numbers of all important family contacts.
- Pill boxes, filled for a week or more at a time, help seniors to stay on track with their medications.
- Be especially diligent if your loved one is in the early stages of dementia, a time when many seniors present as “the great foolers.” This occurs when they are still very much able to converse with doctors and family members and reassure everyone that they continue to follow all their necessary disease management instructions. What is in fact occurring, however, is that the senior has lost the ability to organize medications and consistently follow diet and other instructions and an “unexplained” decline in health status is occurring.
If you live at a distance from a senior loved one, or are unable to check in frequently, consider hiring a home care agency RN to routinely set up medications, confirm changes with the physicians, monitor compliance and make sure that any health status changes are identified early. This can provide great peace of mind.
Our goal at Nightingale Homecare is to provide the guidance and care necessary for your loved one to remain safe and independent at home. For more information, contact us online or call us at 602-504-1555. Look for our next blog in this series on WELLNESS ROUTINE: Maximizing Health and Mobility and experience success with helping your loved one age in place at home!