How Caregivers Can Avoid Medication Mistakes

A caregiver is a paid or an unpaid person who helps an impaired individual in daily routine activities. Any injured person or a house bound patient might use care-giving services to address their difficulties. They help older adults, the ill, and the disabled friends and family members.

Caregiver Responsibilities:

The list of responsibilities is countless but a few typical tasks that care recipients rely on are:

  • Preparing meals, doing laundry and cleaning house.
  • Help in shopping and buying groceries.
  • Ordering and picking up medicines from drugstore.
  • Handling a medical emergency.
  • Arranging medical appointments with doctors.
  • Transportation to the doctor’s clinic.
  • Assist with medications, injections, physical therapies or other medical purposes.

Handling a wide array of responsibilities is a very complicated and difficult task.    A caregiver   needs to be careful as mistakes can really affect a patients’ health. Here is a list of common mistakes that most caregivers make and how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: Modifying pills to swallow them easily

Most of the older adults face trouble while swallowing medicines. Most of the time caregivers just cut a pill in half, crush it, or mix it with something like chocolate syrup, that a patient can swallow it easily. Some of the medicines are designed to have a timed release that occurs slowly during the whole day throughout the day. Crushing and breaking them can alter the time release of a medicine, causing the person to get too much at once or not at all.

What you can do?

If your patient is having trouble with swallowing pills, consult the doctor. The doctor may be able to provide you a medication in small pills or in liquid form. Sometimes your doctor may prescribe an alternate medication.

Mistake #2: Handy medication storage

Most of the time caregivers store medicines to the nearest possible place i.e., in kitchen or bathroom cabinet. Both of these places experience variations in temperature many times. Heat, light, and moisture make medicine less effective.

What you can do?

Caregivers must make sure to store medicines at room temperature unless its label specifies that it needs to be store in refrigerator. Store medicines away from heat, moisture and light.  The best place to store medicines is outside of the bathroom and kitchen. Make sure to keep medicines out of reach of children.

Mistake #3: Filling pill organizers imprecisely

If your patient takes a lot of medications in a day then pill organizers are best to organize their medications. Pill organizers are partitioned by day of the week, day and night, or in detailed ways. The organizers allow 6, 8, even 30 different dispensers per day. They are very helpful — but only if they’re filled precisely.

What you can do?

Ask doctor to help you in sorting pills of your care recipient. Some of the doctors will do this routinely, while others will do it for a few times to show you the right way to get started. Give medicines to your recipient on time according to pill organizer as exact timing of a dose matters.

Care giving is a 24*7 job and most of the time caregivers can’t handle it alone. Being a caregiver doesn’t mean that you can’t take help from the patient’s family and friends in taking care of a patient. Talk to family members, loved ones, and friends about when and how they can help you in doing certain tasks, such as grocery shopping, housekeeping, or picking up prescriptions. You can also guide the patient’s family members to save money on prescription medications by using prescription discount card such as Wise Rx card.

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