In your role as the Family Caregiver for your senior loved one, you are probably familiar with the term “medication management.” However, do you know understand why managing your loved ones’ medications should be such a priority? You not only run the risk of mismatched medications, you also interfere with healing when medications aren’t taken properly after a hospital stay.
One recent report shows that elderly patients are at a higher risk for hospital readmittance than younger patients. This risk is especially dangerous during the first 30 days after being release from a hospital stay.
Risk Factors for Medication Errors
- Declining Vision - Your loved one may not be able to properly read the dosing instructions for the medication. This can cause them to take the wrong amount and miss important health information, including whether or not to take the medication with food, water or at certain times of the day. Be sure to vet this information for them before they start the medication.
- Memory Loss - Elderly individuals may lose track of when they take their medications, which can potentially cause overdose because they don’t recall taking the medication in the morning. Even the younger individual can struggle with this one as the simply business of life can get in the way.
- Hearing Loss- If your loved one is hard of hearing, they could miss important instructions from their doctor. Providing an extra set of ears is of huge benefit.
- Social Isolation - Health care professionals have found that elderly patients who live alone are less likely to accurately follow their medication regime. This isn’t always intentional as old habits are sometimes hard to break.
These obstacles can cause stress for you as a Family Caregiver, as well as pose dangerous health risks for your loved one. There are several ways to combat these risks.
Preventing Medication Errors
- Have your loved one’s pharmacist or doctor write down instructions along with their medication. It is important for you to get the instructions from your loved one’s doctor or pharmacist in writing. This will eliminate confusion and give you a reference to ensure your loved one is taking the medicine properly.
- Use medication dispensers. There are many medication containers that are labeled by days and times of days. Many even come with alarms. These can be preset by you so that you can ensure your loved one has the extra reminders and guidance they need.
- Keep a clear record of doctor’s names and contact information. This will be helpful for your loved one if they have questions.
- Label medications clearly. Not only should the names be labeled, but also supply your loved one with clear and simple dosage instructions, possible side effects and whether or not to take the medication with food or water.
- Help your loved one understand their pharmaceutical schedule and to create a routine centered on correctly taking medication, so it becomes habitual and familiar.
Medication plays a large part in your loved one’s health. The professionals at Freudenthal Home Health can be your partner thanks to our Medication Management Services. Call us today to find out more.