Caretakers provide medical care to individuals suffering from long-term or fatal illnesses. Seniors, cancer patients, hospice patients, and those diagnosed with chronic conditions may require daily help with medication, routine activities, and transportation to medical facilities.
Understand The Different Types Of Medications
The responsibilities of a caretaker often involve medication management, which include administering and ordering prescriptions, and keeping track of side effects. To provide proper care, caretakers need to distinguish between the different types of medication.
Prescription medications. Prescription medications are ordered by a doctor or nurse practitioner, and filled at a pharmacy or received by mail order. They can be either “generic” or “brand name.” These medications are nearly identical, but generic medications are typically less expensive. Patients with certain conditions may be prescribed brand-name medications.
Over-the-counter medications (OTC). Patients can obtain these medications without a prescription. They include aspirin, cold medicines, laxatives, and other basic remedies.
Herbal medications. Vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal teas may be obtained at pharmacies, health food stores, or botanicas.
Medications are available in a variety of forms: pills, capsules, liquids, medicated creams, patches, inhalers, chewable or dissolving agents, injectable solutions, suppositories, ointments, eye drops, or ear drops.
How To Manage Medication
To provide patients with medication, caregivers take the following steps:
- Order prescriptions and pick up refills at the pharmacy, or arrange for delivery.
- Carefully read medication labels and follow all instructions.
- Administer the right medication at the right time and at the right dosage.
When managing medication, be sure to:
- Track and note side effects or other medication problems, such as nausea, vomiting, confusion, and dizziness. Call the doctor or home care nurse if you notice any unusual reactions or have questions about medication.
- Check the prescription bottle for an expiration or “use by” date before administering medication. Some medications may be unsafe after this date and should be thrown away if they are not being used or have passed the “use by” date.
- Store all medications in a safe place to ensure nobody else takes the patient’s medication. Some medications need to be in the refrigerator and all medications must be kept out of children’s reach.
What Is Medication Reconciliation?
Medication reconciliation is a method of checking that all the over-the-counter and prescription medications taken by the patient are correct. The best way to do this is by creating a list and making sure that no medications are missing or overlooked. Frequent changes in medications and dosage can make it difficult to keep an up-to-date list. This may occur after a new diagnosis (condition) or relocating, such as moving from the hospital to a nursing home.
Here are a few ways to handle medication reconciliation:
- Keep the medication list updated by adding all new medications and removing ones your family member no longer takes.
- Store this list in an easy-to-find place, especially for cases of an emergency.
- Bring the medication list with you to doctor’s appointments or when the family member is admitted to a hospital or nursing home.
- Routinely review all medications with the family member’s doctor and pharmacist. Ask about potential side effects or other problems you should look out for.
Why Trust Select LTC Pharmacy
A hospice pharmacy can help ease the burden many caregivers carry by simplifying medication management. Select LTC Pharmacy offers comfort kits, special packaging, and 24/7/365 support to caregivers across Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Give us a call to learn more about our services.