Effective medication management is of great significance in the overall well-being of any patient. Managing medications is especially crucial for senior citizens who are often taking numerous medicines. Having a second pair of eyes on the medicines and their schedule can be helpful and decrease mistakes. Senior citizens residing independently must have a medication management guide that helps them with compliance as per the instructions of their physician.
Significance of Medication Management to Prevent Errors
Most seniors are on multiple medication regimes because they have more than one medical issue. Often, their family members are away, and it becomes difficult for aged members to manage their medication schedules effectively. Medication management is necessary to ensure the right medication is taken at the correct dose and at the right time.
Cause of Medication Mismanagement
Multiple diseases in aged citizens – Many senior members of society have multiple illnesses and are on various drug therapies. Problems can occur if their health conditions or response to medications are not adequately monitored. Patients with poor memory can also forget to take vital medication at a prescribed time.
Medication reactions – Some medications cannot be given concurrently due to drug-drug interaction. Similarly, when taken before or after taking medication, some foods can result in undesirable adverse effects.
Personal factors – Aged people become weak and are more prone to accidental falls, which may lead to hip fractures. Multiple medication therapies is a crucial factor that increases the chance of falls and hip fractures in the elderly. Furthermore, the ability to remember medication schedules also decreases with age.
Medication Management Guide for the Elderly Members of the Family
Medication review – Discuss all the medications of your parents or elderly family members with their concerned physicians. Ask the doctor about the possible drug reactions, food interactions, and side effects and medication schedule, frequency of dosing and medication strength, and make a record of all information.
Clear doubts about dosing – The proper dose is of vital importance for the effective treatment of any disease. Go through the label of medication to confirm the prescription or consult an on-call pharmacist or doctor if you are not sure about the dose recommended for your loved one. The mature age of your loved ones demands a custom dosage regimen other than that mentioned in the labels because the aged body behaves differently to many drugs. So it’s better to consult the physician of your elderly family member about the proper dose.
Watch for potential risks and possible side-effects – Elderly patients taking multiple medications can experience more significant side effects and potential drug-drug or drug-food interactions. Ask the doctor about which medicines are not given concomitantly with other drugs, herbal supplements, or certain foods. Note down any severe or unusual side effects that your parent or elderly member may experience and inform their doctor about the situation.
Avoid red-flagged medications – Certain medications are known to be dangerous for the elderly or geriatric population due to their life-threatening adverse reactions in aged people. Such drugs are listed in the online database of the American Geriatric Society.
Use a medication organizer – It’s an effective and easy way to organize all the medicines of your loved one with the help of a medication organizer. Today, many medication organizers are smart and app-enabled that remind your loved ones about which medication to take at what time. It also reduces their burden to remember and manage their medicines on their own.
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