The key to safe and effective medication use is good medication management. Medication management means finding the correct medication(s) for the older adult's problem and determining the correct dosage, as well as checking for side effects, drug interactions, and potential health problems that might arise from the medication. In addition, medication management also involves developing a plan to monitor the medication use and make necessary changes.
What is Medication Management?
Medication management is the process of establishing a collaborative partnership between patients and caregivers to optimize medication outcomes. It is an organized approach to managing all aspects of how a person takes his/her medicine, including:
- Understanding how medicine works;
- Learning about FDA-approved uses for the medicine;
- Considering possible side effects;
- Creating and following a schedule for taking the medicine;
- Using or obtaining a medicine properly;
- Becoming aware of drug interactions;
- Monitoring for side effects or signs of complications;
- Keeping a list of current medicines with dosage and schedule;
- Understanding why maintaining a complete list of medications is important.
One of the primary roles of healthcare providers, including pharmacists, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other members of the healthcare team, is to educate patients and their families about medications, including safety measures, dosing and efficacy.
How to Safely Manage Medications for Older Adults
Tip #1: Keep All Medication in One Storage Place
Having one location for storing all medications, including over-the-counter (OTC) medications, is the safest way to manage medications. Separate the medications into daily dosages, with the date and time each dose is taken.
Get a daily pill organizer with a lock, so all medications are kept in one place. Set times each day and week to count the pills and assess whether refills are needed.
Tip #2: Store Medication in a Cool, Dark, and Dry Place
Store medications in a cool, dark, and dry place, out of direct sunlight. Hot temperatures, bright lights and moisture can mean a shorter shelf-life for some medications.
Tip #3: Keep Your Medication List Up-to-Date
Because older adults go to different doctors and see different specialists, a comprehensive list of medications is essential to make sure there aren't any dangerous or harmful drug interactions.
Tip #4: Organize Your Medication Weekly
Every week, organize your medications by date, type and dosage. Separate your medications into daily dosages, with the date and time each dose is taken. Set times each day and week to count pills and assess whether refills are needed.
Tip #5: Take Medications Only As Prescribed
Taking more of a medication than prescribed or taking a medication prescribed for another person is a dangerous practice. Some medications, such as narcotics, are extremely addictive and can create tolerance or addiction that can lead to overdose and death.
Also, some medications have negative interactions in combination with other medications. Taking multiple medications can also cause confusion and memory problems.
The Bottom Line: Proper Medication Management is a Must
When you're trying to manage a serious health problem, you need to do everything you can to make sure you're getting the most from your treatments. Proper medication management can help you do that.
Patients should talk to their pharmacist about medicine management as we can help them with aids and tools and even pack their meds so it’s much easier to take. Packing meds is called blister packing . Be sure to watch for signs of interactions, side effects or potential health problems. The more you know, the better you can help manage your loved one's medication.
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Whether you’re looking for a reliable allergy management solution, stress management techniques, or holistic pharmacists, book an appointment with us today and see what else we can do to enhance your wellbeing!