Mistake #6 – Not Having a Medication Management Plan

The Problem:

While seniors have benefited by living longer and healthier lives because of prescription medications, incorrect prescribing or using of drugs can be dangerous.  There is a direct correlation between age and the number of drugs prescribed.  When hospitalized, 10% t0 15% of older adults have adverse drug reactions, which is the fourth leading cause of death for people of all ages.  Sometimes physicians prescribe inappropriate drugs, inappropriate doses of drugs, or incompatible drugs.  Sometimes they order new drugs to treat the side effects of current drugs, and they frequently fail to provide sufficient information about drugs they prescribe.  Patients complicate the matter by inaccurate or non-reporting of symptoms or side effects, not telling their doctor about all drugs and supplements they use, by taking their drugs incorrectly, or by self-medicating with alcohol, over-the-counter drugs, or illicit drugs.

The Solution:

It is imperative that seniors have a plan to manage the following medication issues:

  • Knowing their medications’ purpose, expected effects and potential side effects
  • Reporting positive and adverse effects to their doctors
  • Administering their medications correctly
  • Obtaining refills for medications in a timely fashion

Safe administration of medications is facilitated by the use of a medication administration box, or med set-up box, in which pills are put in small boxes for consumption at the correct time on the correct day.  Seniors can help ensure they take their medications correctly by asking a family member or a visiting nurse through a home healthcare agency to set up their medication in the boxes weekly.