Medication may be an essential part of managing symptoms and preventing a health condition from worsening, but many aspects must be considered to ensure that a loved one takes their medication correctly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that not taking medicine correctly leads to 125,000 deaths each year, so following correct medication guidelines is imperative.
Whatever medication your loved one may be taking, be it supplements or over-the-counter prescriptions, it is crucial for a caregiver to keep the following safety tips in mind to prevent unwanted side effects and ineffective medication.
Take Medication as Prescribed
This rule applies to individuals of all ages, but seniors are especially susceptible to the negative consequences of not following the rules set forth by a health care provider.
It’s important that medication is not discontinued without a doctor’s input, even if it doesn’t seem to be working or your loved one appears better. Medications such as antibiotics need to be taken for their entire duration, or even more, severe infections may develop. In other cases, discontinuing the medication may cause the disease to get worse.
It’s also imperative that your loved ones only take prescription medication prescribed to them. This is especially important for the elderly since they often take multiple medications, and certain medications cancel out the effects of each other or can cause adverse reactions. To ensure proper safety, it is always best to receive and follow a prescription from a doctor.
Pillboxes are an excellent tool for ensuring that medications are taken when needed and no missed doses occur. A caregiver can fill pill boxes weekly or monthly, making it easier for the loved one to remember if they have taken their medicine.
Do Not Take Expired Medicine
Medicine can expire, and if your loved one takes expired medicine, it won’t be as effective. Some medicines may even degrade over time into toxic compounds. For medicines not taken very often, caregivers should check their expiration date and discard any medications that have passed it.
Store Medication Properly
Storing medicine in an inadequate environment can cause it to degrade faster, which, as discussed above, can decrease its efficacy and potentially lead to toxic compounds. The medicine bottle will explain how to store it properly, but in most cases, pills need to be stored in a cool, dry place.
Keep A Medication List
Caregivers play an essential role in keeping an up-to-date medication list that includes information such as:
prescription brand names and generic names
any over-the-counter medicine, supplements, or herbal preparation has taken regularly or occasionally
the reason for each medication
the dosage taken
how often each medicine is taken
Ensuring Medication Safety
Caregivers are essential in monitoring and ensuring medication safety by confirming that required medications are taken as needed, appropriately stored, and thrown away when expired. They also play an important role in compiling a medication list as a reference guide for doctors and other healthcare workers. If your loved one would benefit from a care manager who can help oversee medication safety, reach out to us at (404) 310-3567, and we can address your questions or needs.