With old age come many packages and one such is that of pills. Yes, medication becomes a must for the elderly to replenish their lost energy, combat diseases and carry on their routine life. Yet, taking medication becomes a challenging chore for elders who are infirm, incapacitated or in a state of mental illness. They require some assistance in taking medications with the correct dosage at the right time. The presence of a family member, caregiver or home healthcare service provider is a definite necessity to prevent medication errors in seniors.
What is the importance of preventing medication errors in seniors?
Seniors are subject to frailty, physical disability and senility as they age. Missing medications, over-dosage or under-dosage, multiple drug interactions, mistaken drug identity and wrong route of administration may be some of the medication errors which might prove fatal. To avoid all this, it is best to seek professional help in the form of nursing assistance for seniors.
Common medication errors in seniors and how to prevent them
1. Medicine Overdose
Seniors may take an overdose of pills due to anxiety, mood swings or plain carelessness. This can prove fatal in the case of painkillers, sedatives, stimulants or anti-anxiety drugs. Such drugs, when taken in surplus, might cause drowsiness, imbalance or even stomach cramps and intestinal disorders.
Even analgesics or plain paracetamol cannot be taken in excess quantity by elders as their intestine systems and kidney have become vulnerable with age. These drugs have been taken not in normal adult dosage but only in minimized levels keeping in mind the delicate condition of seniors.
In such circumstances, the presence of a home healthcare service provider is invaluable as such operational hazards can be easily prevented.
2. Medicine Underdose
Not taking the required quantity of medicines can also pose a problem for seniors as the drug will not take effect due to its diminished dose. Such under dosage issues occur when medicines at home get exhausted and elders have no means of acquiring them from the pharmacy due to their infirmity or lack of caregivers. In such cases, home medicine delivery is best as it can prevent elders from missing medicines or taking them in reduced doses.
3. Medicine confusion
Medicines manufactured by different pharmaceutical companies have similar and confusing names. t is easy for elders with vision problems or hearing problems to get confused with these medications. Elders with dementia also face acute difficulties in identifying medicines. By enlisting nursing assistance for seniors, medicine confusion and wrong medication can be avoided.
4. Multiple Drug interactions
Elders suffer multiple health issues due to declining age and are hence forced to take numerous medications for each illness. Seniors may not be aware of the harmful repercussions of such multiple drug interactions. For example, a senior with arthritis may be directed to take an opiate analgesic or painkiller drug by his orthopaedist while he may be also prescribed a sedative for sleep for his anxiety by his neurologist. These 2 drugs may result in heavy sedation which can cause the patient severe harm. The presence of professional and trained medical help in the form of nursing assistance for seniors can avoid such mishaps.
5. Interaction of Drugs with Food
Taking medicines before or after food is one fact which has to be noted and adhered to, with caution by seniors. Certain medicines prescribed for acidity are best taken before food and may be rendered useless and otherwise.
Similarly, certain medicines should not be mixed up with certain types of food and seniors may not be aware of this. For instance, blood thinners or anticoagulants should not be taken along with foods rich in Vitamin K which improve blood clotting like greens, broccoli etc. Only a trained home healthcare service provider or nursing assistant can prevent such grave medication errors.
Senior health can be best maintained only with timely medications given in the correct doses. Safeguard the health of your precious senior by preventing medication errors with the help of a professional home healthcare service provider.