They call it “running” errands for a reason – we frequently need to get through them as fast as possible! Nonetheless when it comes to picking up prescription medications, slowing down and taking more time to talk with the pharmacist, versus hurrying through the drive-through, is very important – particularly for senior citizens who more often than not take a number of different meds.
The following list of questions to ask the pharmacist is an easy place to start to make sure that you and the senior you are caring for are armed with the information needed:
- What, when and how: Be sure to get clarification about the basics, even though the most important details are generally printed on the label or accompanying paperwork. What exactly is the correct dosage? Is there a precise time of day the med needs to be taken? Can it be taken with meals, water, milk, on an empty stomach, etc.?
- When errors arise: If too much or too little of the med is taken, or if a dose is skipped, what steps needs to be followed? What if a senior forgets having taken the medication and takes a duplicate quantity?
- Side effects: Once again, this ought to be printed out for you, although the pharmacist can provide a great review of the most common effects to watch for, and what you should do if any side effects or an allergic reaction occurs.
- What to avoid: Certain medications interact adversely with others, and sometimes even with various kinds of food. Others can result in sleepiness or dizziness, making it hazardous to drive or operate machinery and increasing the threat of a fall.
- Time period: Will this medication need to be taken ongoing, or is it short-term? If long-term, what quantity of refills are included in the prescription? And is there a shelf life/expiration date? What happens in the event that medication is taken past this date?
Finally, make sure to request an evaluation of all medications the senior is taking to check for any contraindications between meds. This is specifically necessary for seniors receiving prescriptions from a number of physicians and specialists. Ask the pharmacist if there is any duplication in the senior’s list of meds to avoid overmedication. It may be that one physician has prescribed a generic type of a medication, whereas another wrote the order for the drug’s brand name.
Compassionate Nursing Services will help make certain older adults continue to be both knowledgeable in respect to the medications they’re taking, and compliant in taking them just as prescribed. We are available to pick up prescriptions, provide transportation and accompaniment to the pharmacy to allow non-driving seniors to talk with the pharmacist, remind seniors at the recommended time to take meds, and more.