Managing medication for a loved one is difficult & confusing. Some of us have to organize so many pills & all of us have so many questions. Is this safe? Can these two pills be taken at the same time? It can feel overwhelming. The information & brochures that come with prescriptions & over-the-counter medication are hard to read and don’t make much sense. When you have questions, it can be difficult to find the right answers easily. If you have ever felt this way, we can assure, you are not alone. In fact, there are very few people who can say with confidence, they are comfortable managing their medication & those of their loved one’s. And even fewer who can say they fully or even partially understand or remember the instructions given by their care-recipient’s doctor or pharmacist. Did you know the US Department of Health & Human Services estimates nearly 9 in 10 US adults lack sufficient health literacy to properly follow prescription or doctor instructions & manage overall health? Obviously we all need help in managing, understanding & coordinating our medical lives.
Here are 3 important tips that will help you keep your family safe.
1. Be aware of medication side-effects- A leading cause of people deciding to stop their medication are the unexpected side-effects they experience . It can be difficult to find the side-effects associated with each medication and to determine if the drug is really the cause. So ask your loved one how they’re feeling (especially after starting a new medication), and jot down any symptoms they are experiencing.
2. Follow prescription instructions- Studies have shown people who have difficulty remembering or understanding prescription instructions tend to be the least compliant with their drug regimen. Setting up medication reminders and following the advice of the labels on the prescription bottle are two ways to stay-on-top your loved one’s medications.
3. Check for any interactions- Each year an estimated 4.5 million Doctor & ER visits are made as a result of adverse drug events (ADEs). ADEs are an injury resulting from the consumption or non-consumption of prescribed or over-the-counter medication. As a result it is important to maintain an up-to-date list of your care-recipient’s medication. Additionally, try to check for severe drug interactions that may exist between your care-recipients medications, and their medical history. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of an ADE occurring & will also be a valuable reference you can provide your care-recipient’s doctor in case an ADE does occur.
 Jimmy, Beena, and Jimmy Jose. “Patient Medication Adherence: Measures in Daily Practice.” Oman Medical Journal 26.3 (2011): 155–159. PMC. Web. 10 Sept. 2018.