We’ve all had to take medication at some point in our lives. No one wants to be on medication for a life-altering illness but it can happen to our loved ones at any moment. That’s why it’s important to remember that managing medications at home can be daunting for those of us that have more than one medication to manage. You may be asking what is medication management. The medication management process simply refers to having a strategy of engagement with both the patients and caregivers that includes an accurate and complete list of medications. It’s an important part of being able to identify patient behavior risk issues like overdosing, underdosing, and missing doses. If you are a caregiver or close loved one to a patient taking multiple medications, this information is for you.
The Center for Disease Control has reported that 50% of patients take medications incorrectly in terms of timing, dosage, frequency, or duration. This is especially important for elderly patients since medication mismanagement can be particularly fatal. However, being informed and attentive can help improve the medication management process for everyone involved.
Medication Management Tips
The medication management process can be streamlined to be easier if you incorporate some of these tips:
- Always keep a schedule – This should be priority number one. When taking multiple medications, it’s important to have a thorough list and a schedule with the frequency, dosage, and timing of each listed. Also included in the list should be what the medication treats, how often refills should be, and all possible side effects. Bring this list with you every time you follow up with your doctor and make this information available to both your caregiver and loved ones. The list should be created in a form that is easy to update and revise as time goes on.
- Be aware of how you’re feeling – Taking more medications increases your risk of more side effects. Medications can impact your weight, vision, energy levels, sleep patterns, hunger, organ function, and digestion. Keeping track of how the medications are affecting you on a regular basis can be helpful for your follow up visits to your doctor.
- Never self prescribe – We repeat. Never self prescribe. Leave this to the experts but always be aware of your health and any signs of illness. Using OTC, or over the counter medications may not mix well with your prescribed medications. For this reason, it’s best to stay away from developing your own concoction of medications. That’s what health professionals are for.
- Stick with one pharmacist – Have a regular pharmacist you see when you receive new or refill prescriptions. That way, they are familiar with the range of medications you are on and can increase compliance. Sometimes, this may not be possible if the pharmacy doesn’t carry everything you need. Prices also may vary at different pharmacies.
- Share your experiences with medication – Remember that list we mentioned and being aware of how you feel? It’s important to share how the medications are affecting you with your provider. Doctors are there to make sure your overall health improves. Letting them know how you are affected can improve the medication management process.
Medication management risks for the elderly
The elderly are one of the largest consumer groups of prescribed medications and, therefore, are at increased risk for negative health and lifestyle impacts. These risks are largely a result of non-adherence which is described as a patient who doesn’t continue care. Patients must adhere to the exact instructions of the prescribed medication or it won’t work properly. Some of the risks to be aware of include:
Some medications can cause side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, or nausea that can result in a devastating fall. Around 70 seniors die from falls alone as a result of medication. Many elderly patients become addicted to prescribed medications which can result in death but is often misdiagnosed. Depression is also another dangerous side effect of medications that should be monitored closely. Finally, isolation is a result of managing an illness and the heavy toll it takes on a patient. Being cognizant of these signs and risks can improve your medication management process.
Have you made your appointment?
An important part of our practice is geriatric health and heart disease assessment and management. With an extensive network of experienced and trained health professionals, medical doctors, and superior medical facilities, you are in good hands with MyCare Health Partners. Visit our website and make sure to book your appointment today!