The issue of medication management can be overwhelming and improper use of medication can be devastating. Therefore, it is important to have a plan in action when it comes to managing your loved one’s medications, especially if you are the primary caregiver. Even if you’re not the primary caregiver, having a plan in place is beneficial for you, your loved one, their caregivers, doctors, and more.
Here are a few tips to help manage your loved one’s medications:
- Maintain an up-to-date medication list: This includes over the counter medicine, vitamins and supplements, and prescribed medicines. List the dosage, frequency, reasons for taking it, dosing directions, start and end dates if needed, and any other relevant information. It may also be helpful to include any allergies, the number of the doctor that prescribed the medicine, the pharmacy that filled it, and any other relevant medical information.
- Ask doctors to translate prescriptions: Sometimes it can be hard to read and understand a doctor’s prescriptions. Don’t be afraid to ask your loved one’s doctor for a translation of what they prescribed and why. You may also take your own notes to reference later.
- Write the reason for each prescription on the bottle: By writing the condition treated on each bottle of medicine, will help you determine if your loved one could be taking multiple medicines for the same condition, prescribed by different doctors. This would be a red flag to ask some questions.
- Use the same pharmacy: A pharmacist can be a great resource for you. They can answer questions regarding over the counter medicines, and potential side effects or reactions with prescription medicine. They will also have an official record of all your loved one’s medicines over an extended period of time, which can be helpful in certain emergencies.
- Limit the number of doctors and providers: Try and minimize the number of doctors and providers you use to avoid over-medicating a certain condition or information getting lost between providers.
- Understand potential side effects and monitor interactions: Knowing what to look for is important. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects and interactions with other drugs, supplements, or over the counter medication. Also ask what happens if a dose is accidentally missed, etc.
- Use pill boxes or other technology to manage daily: This will help you manage when medications were taken, if they need to be taken, morning and afternoon doses, etc.
Medication mismanagement can lead to an emergency room visit or other medical related emergencies, so it is vital to manage medications appropriately. Being on top-of-the game, organized, and well-informed will help smooth the process. It can be overwhelming, but it will payoff in the end for both yourself and your loved one.