Medication can offer many benefits for managing Alzheimer’s-related mood and behavior changes, along with a patient’s other health conditions. However, many Alzheimer’s patients find it hard to keep track of their medications as their condition progresses. Unfortunately, medication errors can be life-threatening. Fortunately, an understanding of medication management and careful planning can prevent dangerous mishaps! View this list of strategies for medication management provided by Home Care Assistance of Annapolis and learn how to ensure high quality Alzheimer’s care.
It is common for senior adults to be prescribed new medications in response to a recent health diagnosis. Caregivers and patients should learn as much as they can about every medicine prescribed. The correct dosage, possible side effects and the expected length of treatment should all be explained by the patient’s physician and pharmacist. When filling a prescription, make sure that the label matches the patient’s name and contains the correct medication and dosage. During doctor visits, patients or caregivers should take notes and ask for medication list print-outs to review with treating physicians.
Create a Medication List
When a person takes multiple medications, it is easy to become confused or to forget to mention one to the doctor, particularly when more than one treating physician is involved and when the patient is not feeling well. For this reason, a medication list should be created that contains the name of each prescribed and over-the-counter medicine that a patient takes and what condition or diagnosis corresponds to that medication. Then, this list should be posted in a safe but accessible location in the patient’s home and also in their purse or wallet. Each caregiver who assists with monitoring medication should also have a copy. I often do initial assessments with my nursing team and hear the nurse ask “why are you taking this medication?” I am disturbed by how many times the client or client’s loved one says “I don’t know.” I learned the hard way about keeping up-to-date medication lists when my Mom had a medical set-back and I had to call 911. I did not have an up-to-date medication list handy to provide to the paramedics. I vowed that would never, ever happen again!
Use a Reminder System
As Alzheimer’s progresses, a patient may need assistance with remembering when to take their medication. Pill boxes with labels for dates and times are one way to organize a person’s medications. For those who forget when to take their medicine, an alarm can be beneficial. Patients in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s may also need in-home medication management services that include a caregiver checking in each day to make sure medicine has been taken correctly. Although our services at Home Care Assistance of Annapolis are “non-medical,” we only hire Certified Nursing Assistants or CNAs who are licensed and trained in elder care. In addition, we also have Medical Techs on staff with training in medication management at a level higher than a CNA.
Monitor Use and Side Effects
It is important for caregivers and patients to remember that medication management may involve changes to a patient’s plan over time. When a new medication is prescribed, a patient may need to be observed for possible side effects. Any changes in a patient’s health will need to be reported to their physician so that the proper treatment can be implemented. By working together, caregivers and Alzheimer’s patients can avoid medication mix-ups while ensuring their safety and health.
Do you have an aging parent or loved one with Alzheimer’s? Have you become overwhelmed by your responsibilities? Home Care Assistance of Annapolis is here to help. Offering care anywhere from 4 to 24 hours a day, our caregivers provide the support your aging loved one needs to live safely and comfortably at home, while providing you with peace of mind knowing they are in professional and caring hands. Call 443-302-2771 to schedule a free home care consultation or visit our Annapolis home care website for more information. Contact us to find out how we are Changing the Way the World Ages!