For older adults who take prescription drugs, medication management is a crucial component of maintaining good health. Medical providers may prescribe medications to improve and maintain patient health, but it is often up to patients to follow through with the prescription regimen, which may involve human error.
A study about medication nonadherence suggests several reasons elderly people may not take medication as needed. Medication management is the oversight and monitoring of prescriptions, providing extra support to patients who may help in regard to their medication consumption or application. People who suffer from impaired cognitive function may not remember to take medications at the right times. Some people may also choose not to take certain medications to avoid unpleasant feelings caused by negative side effects. This can result in declining health and other potentially harmful effects. Medication management is intended to help address or avoid these situations.
When an older adult follows a medication schedule, they usually experience a better quality of life. Medications are meant to be taken in specific doses at regular intervals to properly manage pain and illness. Good medication management also makes it easier for medical providers to regulate an elderly person’s health.
On the other hand, stopping some medications suddenly can result in withdrawal symptoms. Even mismanaging medication can result in similar withdrawal symptoms. When medication isn’t managed properly, a patient’s health is put at risk, which could lead to the exacerbation of chronic medical conditions.
To manage medication properly, you should take the correct medicines at the right times. Keeping medications organized helps prevent older adults from accidentally skipping their medications or overdosing on prescriptions.
You can implement several strategies to ensure medication stays organized.
Keeping medicine organized and putting reminders in place ensures medicine and overall treatment are as effective as possible.
As a caring family member, it’s important to speak with an older adult’s primary care provider. Review medication labels so you can learn about side effects the older adult may experience. You should feel confident in identifying which side effects are normal and which ones may need to be investigated.
It’s also important to discuss potential drug interactions with the older adult’s medical provider. Offer the doctor a list of other medications and vitamins currently taken to ensure there aren’t any undesired reactions between the chemicals in these medications and supplements. If a doctor knows about current treatments, it can also help to avoid a misdiagnosis.
It’s also important to discuss the dangers of mixing medications. If the doctor warned you about any medications that don’t interact well, write them down so the older adult doesn’t accidentally mix them together. You should also remove any drugs from your household that could negatively interact with any medications your loved one is currently taking.
In an ideal world, all the medications we take would work seamlessly, but unfortunately, there are typically side effects to be aware of. If an older adult in your life is taking the medication regularly, it’s important to educate yourself on the respective side effects and prepare. Here is a list of the most common medications and their side effects:
Learning to recognize these side effects can be key to receiving prompt treatment or trying alternative medications.
If your loved one does accidentally take another medication that doesn’t mix well with their regular medication, you must take immediate action. To prevent this situation in the first place, familiarize yourself with the most common unhealthy drug interactions:
Beyond these common interactions, you should also consult a health professional to learn more about any specific medications that may not be listed here. If an older adult is under the care of a nursing home and medication isn’t managed properly, leading to dangerous drug interactions, it may be grounds for legal action against the nursing home for abuse or even medical malpractice depending on the circumstances.
Managing medication properly is essential for avoiding complications and ensuring that medicine is working to its full potential. Keeping medication managed properly involves some considerations that may not be immediately apparent or obvious.
Keeping these guidelines in mind can help to stay proactive, preventing some potential issues and quickly responding to others as they occur. While it is important for older adults to understand these guidelines, it is just as important for caregivers to be able to offer support in following them.
Communicating with an older adult about the importance of medication management will help them to navigate this issue in a serious manner. Discuss the dangers of self-prescribing and emphasize the importance of consulting with a medical provider before taking any medication or vitamin supplements. Older adults with cognitive impairments may need a little more help and support sticking to treatment regimens as well.
If any of these efforts cause you to suspect malpractice from a doctor or neglect from a nursing home, it may be a good idea to consult with an injury lawyer to see if legal action is an option. To keep your loved one healthy and thriving, follow medication management protocol and ensure they’re taking care of themselves daily.
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