If you have a family member who has a chronic condition like dementia, you may have had to make lifestyle changes to accommodate their medical needs. While settling large concerns like where to live and how to structure your days would take precedence, educating caregivers on medication safety is also important.
You must have a plan for taking prescriptions so that your patient does not suffer from medication-related complications. Errors with medication can lead to things like immunity to medicines or bacterial resistance. Read on for tips on ensuring safe medication at home.
1. Coordinate with all concerned parties
A person with Alzheimer’s or other chronic conditions may have more than one doctor. Therefore, you should know everything about their medical history and any current medications and their dosages. This is so you can provide the doctors with this information, and they can prescribe medicines that don’t counteract each other.
Aside from speaking at length with their doctors, you should relay medication information to other caregivers. If you take turns caring for your family member, all caregivers must be aware of their current health situation.
2. Get details on the medicine
Aside from treatments for their chronic disease, your loved one might also be prescribed medicine for insomnia, depression, or other complications. As a result of this, you must be aware of all possible side effects of these drugs. You should also monitor herbal supplements and vitamins.
It’s important to know the schedule for each medication but also to familiarise yourself with what the different medicines do and any side effects. This will help you notice anything out of the ordinary if your loved one starts taking a new medicine.
3. Write everything down
Keep a written record of the patient’s medication with the name, dosage, starting date, and other notes from the doctor who prescribed it.
Having a record is important in ensuring a smooth transition should you change healthcare providers. It’s also really helpful to your doctors or nurses in case of a prolonged hospital stay. Try to keep this list in your wallet or purse in case you are both out of the house and something urgent happens.
4. Use medication organisers
A pill box helps everybody keep track of medication on a daily basis. There are various types of organisers today, from locked, timed pill boxes to automatic pill dispensers. For example, the TabTime Medelert has an alarm which can be set to ring for up to six doses a day.
Using a pill dispenser in addition to a calendar will help make the medication schedule more concrete for you and your loved one. With it’s audio and visual alarms it also reduces anxiety about missing medication doses.
5. Develop a routine
It is easier to take medication as prescribed when it is built into your daily routine. Figure out how the dosages fit into daily activities--ask your pharmacist about whether it is to be taken after or before meals, for example.
Be sure that you have a way of refilling and monitoring medication that is safe for everyone in the household. If you have young children or pets in the home, you must keep the medication out of their reach. Keep details of any medication easily accessible, in case of an overdose or accidental swallowing.
Living with a family member with a chronic illness brings many challenges. Structuring routines for this new life situation helps everybody deal with it as well as possible. Organising medication starts from being aware of what each one does and utilising a pill dispenser, calendar and records can also help.
For your pill organisation needs, use TabTime products. We have automatic pill dispensers for Alzheimer’s patients and a 12-month guarantee for all our products. Ask us about our VAT relief-eligible products and contact us today to learn more.