Medication management is a patient-centric approach that outlines an optimal method of safe, effective and appropriate use of medicines and drugs for getting the best patient outcomes. It is crucial to take the correct medication at the right time in the prescribed dosage and apt sequence. That determines how the patient feels and their symptoms are managed. It can even act as a life-saving measure!
Medication Management for seniors is important because –
- Most elders suffer from chronic ailments which are treated with various medicines for managing their conditions.
- Multiple prescriptions for medications can result in errors and miscommunication between physicians and pharmacists.
- Certain drugs react with each other or even with some dietary supplements or over the counter medications posing serious health risks to elders.
- It may be confusing for elderly patients to follow medication regimes as they find it difficult to comprehend when and what medicines they must take along with their nutrition and health supplements. This is particularly relevant in the context of patients with memory loss (Dementia). So, caring for Dementia patients must address medication management with utmost priority.
- There is a strong probability of medication duplication, adverse side effects, allergic reactions and contraindications which poses serious threats to senior’s health.
- Seniors are more susceptible to health complications because they have low immunity levels.
- When health issues occur due to medication errors it can lead to an expensive emergency room and hospital admissions. Sometimes it can even cause irreparable organ damages or fatality!
Important Medication Management Tips
- Staying organized – This is the most important preliminary step in medication management.Medicines and even other health supplements may be pre-sorted at week beginning to avoid confusion. Using a labeled pillbox categorized by days of the week and segregated by time into AM and PM helps in better tracking and follow-up of prescribed regimens.
- Using an app: Educated technology savvy seniors may use smart apps for making medication scheduling easier. Apps help in sending reminders and tracking pills consumed during any given day. Smartphone apps are popular these days as they store all the required details like dosage, usage and the name of the medicine. This information may be retrieved quickly in the event of a health emergency.
- Establishing a consistent routine and process: Having an organized system with a customized robust process goes a long way in elderly medication management. It is important to identify the key components of this process like a specific time slot, storage place and routine for medications.
- Scheduling periodic physician visits: When seniors are taking multiple medications for various ailments, it is important to review their health status periodically with the concerned physicians. It is also advisable to have a common care provider for managing and coordinating their overall care.
- Using adherence tools for timing: There are medical adherence tools with timers available which show the time elapsed since the medicine bottle was last opened. This helps seniors to track the timing of the next dosage.
- Involving an enlisted partner: Keeping a partner like a family member or a trusted friend in the loop may be beneficial. Availing reliable Home Healthcare Services is also a rewarding option. These services help in tracking the medication regimes, providing seniors with necessary medical information when needed and doing the requisite care and follow-ups if side effects occur.
- Creating a backup plan: Establishing a backup plan with sufficient touch points and contacts is essential to handle contingencies like medicines running out of stock, forgetting medication
schedules and accidentally taking a wrong drug.
Consistent habits and reliable tools can thus simplify Medication Management for Seniors gearing them towards a healthier tomorrow!