While we know that medications are very often life-saving, we have also heard some alarming accounts of people who wrongly received an incorrect prescription – either because of a mistake with the prescribing medical practitioner or the pharmacy. Yet there’s another inherent hazard to taking any medication: substance misuse.
In the same way it would be incredibly harmful to drive the wrong way on a one-way highway, medication misuse is equally concerning. As a matter of fact, it’s actually MORE disconcerting, with over 100,000 people annually losing their lives from prescription mismanagement – a full twice the number killed in automobile accidents. The following forms of medication management mistakes arise all too often:
- Neglecting to pick up prescriptions or refills
- Omitting a dose (or a number of doses)
- Mistakenly taking another person’s medicine
- Taking too much of a medication
- Ceasing to take a medication before the physician suggests
- Inappropriately using medication administering devices, such as syringes or inhalers
- Using medicine that is past its expiration date
Medication management can be specifically complicated for seniors who often take a number of different prescriptions as well as OTC medications. Compassionate Nursing Services shares some of the most common challenges older adults experience with medication adherence, and guidelines to help with each:
- Memory Issues: Loss of memory is a significant factor in older adults being able to take prescriptions consistently as prescribed. Those with Alzheimer’s or dementia can either forget about taking their prescriptions, or forget that they’ve already taken them and end up taking too many dosages.
- Medication Management Tip: Pill dispensers are a great way to monitor medications taken. A household member can fill the dispensers for his or her senior loved one, and provide supervision to make sure that meds are taken at the correct time each day.
- Swallowing Problems: Especially with larger tablets and capsules, swallowing medications can be hard for some older individuals.
- Medication Management Tip: Though it may perhaps seem like a good idea to break up or cut pills to make them less difficult to swallow, this should never be done without the physician’s authorization. If they need to be taken whole, determine if the medication can be provided instead in either liquid format or in smaller sized pills.
- Transportation Challenges: One widespread issue with older adults is simply just being unable to drive to pick up medications and refills.
- Medication Management Tip: Mail order prescriptions are sometimes an option, or engage the services of an in-home care expert, such as those at Compassionate Nursing Services, to pick up prescriptions for the senior on a regularly scheduled basis.
Appropriate medication management is crucial for older adults to be healthy and safe. For more strategies and assistance with making certain your older loved ones are taking medications properly, and to learn more about our expert St. Louis home healthcare services for seniors, contact Compassionate Nursing Services at 314-432-4312.