3 Simple Tools to Improve Medication Management!
Medication management is becoming a complex issue facing many elder adults. According to Jane Brody’s article “Too Many Pills for Aging Adults”, more than 40 percent of adults over age 65 are taking at least 5 pills daily. One-third adults 65 and older experience adverse effects from medications ranging from a fall, to dizziness, to hospitalization from their medications. This makes the process of assuring that seniors are taking the correct medications, at the appropriate time even more important.
Depending on the patient’s level of cognition, here are a few simple tools to improve medication management for seniors:
Weekly Packs: Multiple type of pills are packaged together by the time of day that they are taken, for each day of the week. Patients start a new set of packaged medications each week.
Calendar Packs: Multiple cards are given for each time of day a patient takes pills, ie: morning, afternoon, evening, bedtime, and multiple types pills are packed in each bubble. This method can be used for up to 31 days.
- The pharmacist updates, organizes, and sorts all medications reducing the likelihood of medication errors, and relieving the fear of organizational mistakes.
- Medicare and Medicaid will continue to pay for medications with a small fee added for the packaging.
- You can easily check to see if a dose has been taken.
- Bubble packs can be delivered to your door for free, or if you chose to pick them up from the pharmacy, all refills will occur on the same date so you do not have to make multiple trips to the pharmacy.
- Over the counter medications, vitamins, and supplements can be added into bubble packs.
- Pharmacists contact your doctor on a monthly basis to stay current with prescription changes to decrease the likelihood of drug interactions.
Services will either call, email, or text to remind patients when it is time for them to take their medication. In most cases there is a fee associated with this service based upon the number of calls per day. Some companies like mymedchecks.com will offer the first 30 days free. If a patient does not pick up the phone or if the patient sounds abnormal, the service will then call a family member to notify them of the missed call or change in status.
Alarmed, Automated Pill Dispensers
These devices allow patients to input up to 4 daily doses of medications for 1 to 4 weeks depending upon the amount of daily dose. The device will alarm and dispense the medication at a time that has been programmed by the owner, and missed doses will be skipped and securely locked into the device. In most cases, Medicare will not cover the cost of these devices; however, there are cases where Medicare may cover the device if ordered by a physician due to cognitive impairments of a patient. There are also companies like libertyhealthsupply.com who offer a 30 day trial with money-back guarantee.