Practical Everyday Tips for Eliminating Medication Mistakes Among the Elderly

by | Jul 26, 2016 | 0 comments

Pills planner with weekly medication capsules in it glass of water and set of receipts

Medication mistakes happen every day.  These can be due to an error by your clinician, or the pharmacists accidental error.  This can even happen in the hands of the caregiver, and the patient.  The problem is complex, but common.  How can you make a difference for your elderly loved one with this in mind? Accountability is one way, but empowering your loved one to better control and manage their medication adherence is the best way.  However, this isn’t the only thing that can be done either.

These pricey mistakes certainly create a great deal of caregiver stress, and understandably so!  However, just keep in mind that prescription drugs prescribed to a patient or meant to improve that patient’s quality of life, and nine times out of ten they do.  However, mistakes happen.  In 2012, the death toll among the elderly rose to dizzying heights due to medication mistakes—all of which, could have been avoided.  Now, the following recommendations shared below are going to help you, the caregiver eliminate the possibility of your loved one making medication mistakes, so let’s get started!

Tips to Minimize the Risks Associated with Medication Mistakes Among the Elderly

One of the most reasonable and sensible ways a caregiver can begin minimizing medication mistakes is by keeping track of what medications have been prescribed.  Keeping a list of all medications for your loved one can make a dramatic difference.  You want to know the name, the accurate dosage, frequency, who the prescribing physician might be and the pharmacy where they get their medicine filled.  Following this tip will avoid taking the wrong medicine, or medicine that was received by accident (it does happen).  Below are some more helpful strategies to get some bearing on this situation:

  1. Always make sure the running list you keep includes OTC medications your elderly loved one might take too. You need to know the same information about these drugs, and find out if they are safe to take with existing prescription medications.
  2. You need to have a pharmacy that is accountable and which you and your loved one can trust. You need to become an established customer, in this way you’ll become accustomed to what medications are what and will be able to pick up on an issue almost immediately—as will the pharmacist.
  3. Technology is really making a difference in how prescription medications are disbursed and how they are taken. Today, elderly patients can sign up for medication call reminder services that are quite affordable and extremely invaluable!  Mobile apps are also growing in popularity to eliminate medication mistakes in this century!
  4. Remind your loved one to dispose of old, outdated pill prescriptions so they don’t get confused on what to take and what not to take. It could be quite easily for an elderly patient with dementia to inadvertently take an old prescription, increasing health risks.  Remove the clutter and remove the risks!

Medication management services, programs and technological apps will assist you with developing a systematic plan that will work to control medication mistakes today.  You can save your loved one from becoming one of the 7,000 fatalities in existence.


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