The Importance of Medicine Reminders
In my opinion, many younger Americans are overmedicating themselves. They are looking for a magic pill to fix health problems that are a direct correlation to their poor lifestyle choices. However, our elderly population relies heavily on their medication to maintain their health and quality of life. And in some cases, to quite literally keep them alive. For an individual with a regiment of important medications to take, nothing is more important to their wellbeing than making absolutely certain that their medications are taken properly. The adult children of elderly parents seek us out for this valuable service.
First, let me be totally clear. Senior Care Management Solutions’ staff, nor any other home care agency staff, may not administer any medication. State law is very clear. We cannot put any medication into the body of a client. We cannot crush up a pill and put it in food. We cannot give an injection, or insert a feeding tube or catheter. Clients whose condition is so dire that they cannot administer their own medication will require a family member or an appropriately licensed health care profession to do so. We cannot.
What we CAN do is remind and encourage the client.
We can put the medication in a dosage cup and hand it to them. We can watch them and make sure they take it and document it for the family’s records.
We ask the family and/or the client’s advocates to assist us with this process this way:
- Organize all the different bottles. I visit families every day who have medicine bottles all over the place. In the kitchen, in the bathroom, next to the bed, on the coffee table, in their purse or in their vehicle. Not good.
- Obtain a medication planner. Better yet, get four! A medication planner has compartments for days of the week and times of the day. Usually they are compartmentalized for a week’s use. By getting four, the family can set the medication regiment for a month.
- Set up the medication in the planner(s). In a best-case scenario, this is a job for two people, and often it’s a great task for the client and his or her adult daughter or son to accomplish together. Two people can check and balance one another to prevent mistakes. The family member can come in once a week or once a month and sit down with all the medication bottles and transfer the pills into the planner. Now all that’s left to do is make sure the pills are taken. So along with any other non-medical tasks (bathing, toileting, housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, dressing etc…) our staff will also make certain the client takes the right pill at the right time.
Caregivers are Properly Informed
When I visit with a family who stresses the importance of medication reminders, I will ask them to give me a list of the pills and how many of each should be taken and at which time of day. With food or without food? They can email it to me. We will save it with the client’s profile so that no matter who the caregiver may be, the medication regiment is in a central location. We make sure the caregiver has the instructions. We include the regiment with our care-book that goes to the home of the client as well.
Call SCMS Today
If you have a loved one who wants to stay safe and independent at home, but is having trouble keeping their medication in order, call us at Senior Care Management Solutions. We can help.