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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How to Prevent Medication Errors in the Elderly

Every year there are countless deaths and hospitalizations resulting from the mismanagement of medication usage. These deaths occur from multiple factors including administration of the incorrect medication, taking drugs improperly and the wrong dose to name a few. We can help reduce these medications accidents and deaths, by implementing some safety precautions. Follow these steps to help your elders...

1. List all the medications prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and any vitamin and herbal supplements they take.

2. Educate the elderly person about their medications including the desired effects and be familiar with the instructions on how and when to take the medication, possible side effects and drug interactions.

3. Develop a medication usage sheet. Below is one example of how you can list all the medications. A medication list should include the following:

• Name of the medication, color and shape.
• Dosage and frequency
• Reason they are taking the medication
• The date they started taking the medication
• The prescribing physician's name and contact information
• Any special instructions and/or side effects about the medication

4. It is important to have all the medications filled at only one pharmacy. It can be very helpful to develop a relationship with one of the pharmacist' s where the elder picks up their medications. Pharmacists are well trained and can answer your questions about possible drug interactions, side effects and contraindications that your health care provider may not tell you.

5. Keep a list of all the medications the elderly are taking on the refrigerator or by the main telephone they use in a brightly colored folder
clearly marked.

6. Ensure that the medications are stored properly [away from the heat or in the refrigerator] and discard any drugs that have expired or have no labels.

7. Instruct the elderly to put on a light when taking medications and never take their drugs in the dark.

8. If the elderly person utilizes a pill box, always have them keep at least one pill in the original medication container for identification purposes.

9. Never have the elderly mix more than one medication in a pill container, especially when traveling.

10. Always have the elderly bring a list of all of the medications they are currently taking when going to a physician appointment.

Linda Winkler Garvin, R.N., M.S.N., of Alameda, California, is a Health Advocate/Consultant & Educator in the Bay Area and Director of Health Management Associates. With advanced training in gerontology, Linda has expertise in chronic pain management.She is the author of several articles on Pain Management, Healthy Lifestyles, Nutrition and Travel. Learn more at www.healthmanagerbayarea.com.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for nice post regarding How to Prevent Medication Errors in the Elderly.The above eight points is very inofrmatic.thanks for sharing information...
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