When it comes to helping care for aging parents, managing medications is one of the most common things that adult children do for their loved ones. From pill dosages to dietary requirements, it can be difficult for any person to remember what to take when and with what. If your loved one is experiencing dementia or other complications from disease, it can be a real health risk to manage medications on their own. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), more than 2 million serious adverse drug events and 100,000 deaths occur annually due to medication problems. The New England Healthcare Institute estimates that $290 billion of healthcare expenditures could be avoided if medication adherence were improved. Thanks to technology, there are a few new tools out there to help family caregivers and aging adults manage their medications. Yep, there's an app for that!
If you refill your prescription medications at Walgreens, they have a wonderful app that makes re-ordering a snap. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can simply take a picture of your medication using the "refill by scan" feature and the app will reorder your prescription and alert you when it is ready for pick-up. You can also easily transfer your prescriptions to Walgreens by taking a picture of your prescription bottle label from another pharmacy. The app also features a pill reminder to make sure you stay on track with taking and re-ordering your medications.
Once you have your medications, an app like Pillboxie can be so helpful for remembering what to take and when. The app allows you to input a visual representation of your pill to remind you what it looks like along with its other identifying information such as its name, the dosage, and when it is taken during the day. The scheduling feature allows for even complex reminders of when to take pills. One of the other great features is it helps you track responses to medications giving you options of how you feel. This feature is great when you are trying out a new medication or dosage and need to track your responses for your doctor. The creator of the app, Jared Sinclair, is a Registered Nurse and anticipates the needs of its users well.
The benefits of proper medication adherence include a reduction in office visits, avoiding unnecessary medication changes, improved health and quality of life, and above all increased safety. If your loved one needs assistance managing their medications, you may also consider hiring a professional Geriatric Care Manager. As a Registered Nurse specializing in geriatrics, they can ensure:
- medications are properly set up for the week
- medication-taking behavior is monitored and managed
- medication changes are managed and explained
- medications are properly disposed of when expired
- medications are re-ordered in a timely fashion
- clients receive proper reminders and assistance taking medications
- multiple doctors are working from the most current medication lists
For more information on Geriatric Care Management and how they can assist in managing care, CLICK HERE.
Published on June 19, 2013.