Most nurses can attest to the frustration felt when going through a medication reconciliation with an elderly patient. Oftentimes the elderly patient will come to the ER with a pill box and no idea of what medications it contains. They may simply be able to recognize certain pills based on color and size. They may even know how many times daily they take the pills. However, correlating it to what the medication is for might be a mystery. As a result, the hospital staff is often left waiting for family members to arrive with a medication list that is, in many cases, outdated. It is time for common sense medication reminders for seniors
So what common sense interventions can ensure accurate medication administration in senior care when reminders such as pill boxes and medication lists aren’t enough? Here are three tips for helping your senior loved one stay on top of their daily prescriptions.
1. Be Actively Involved
Whether it’s a family member or a home health aide, it’s important to have someone around regularly to ensure your elderly loved is taking their medications as prescribed.
Examine the pillboxes daily to see if some doses have been missed. Occasionally look under the chair or bed to find a spare pill. Has your senior been sick lately? Has she been dealing with bouts of nausea or vomiting? All this could cause them to miss taking pills due to skipping meals.
Having a personal presence in the life of your elderly loved one can make a huge difference. It can increase their safety and decrease their hospital admissions.
2. Education Is Key
Although it can be tedious, allow the elderly person to go through the pillbox filling process with you. Having them do it themselves can be very enlightening. You can determine if they understand the schedule and if they are aware of what pills they are taking and for what reasons.
For example, someone may be aware that four of their daily pills are for blood pressure. Upon waking, they check their blood pressure and get a low reading. This awareness of their condition may encourage them to confer with a home health nurse or their doctor’s office before taking the prescribed medications. In that way, they could avoid a situation which could dangerously lower their blood pressure.
3. Simplify the Prescription Filling Routine
Try to have medications filled at only one pharmacy if possible. Then, assign one person to be in charge of reconciling what medications are filled on a monthly basis with the medication list. This way, medications that are no longer being prescribed can be eliminated from the list. At the same time, newly prescribed medications can be added on a month-to-month basis.
Keeping track of a sometimes long list of medications can be difficult for many seniors. This is exacerbated when other factors such as memory loss or illness come into play. While it may not always be possible for you to be there to remind them what to take and when, a home health aide can provide the extra care and support your loved one needs.
At David York Agency, our experienced in-home healthcare providers can help to monitor medication and ensure your senior takes the medications they need when they need them. We are certified and trained in the latest guidelines for eldercare.
For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. Our aim is to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.