Generally, if hospice patients miss a dose of their prescription medication, they should take the missed dose as soon as they remember, especially if it is just within a few hours of when they were supposed to take it.
However, if it’s almost time for the next dose of that medicine, hospice patients should skip the missed dose and just take the next scheduled dose as prescribed. The general rule is to avoid taking two doses at the same time or extra doses to make up for the missed dose. However, it also depends on the type of medication.
What To Do Based On The Type Of Medication
Many maintenance medications (such as those taken every day to treat long-term issues like high blood pressure or cholesterol) remain in the bloodstream for a while. Missing an occasional dose may not cause any real harm. But certain medications, such as blood thinners, may have different rules for missed doses, so hospice caregivers should check with the doctor or pharmacist if they’re not sure what to do.
Patients on short-term medications, such as antibiotics, can take their missed dose within a few hours. For example, if they are scheduled to take two pills a day (once in the morning and once before going to bed) and forget to take their morning dose, they can take it at lunchtime. However, the safest route is to ask the pharmacist or physician as soon as possible for instructions on what to do if a dose is recently missed. If it is almost time for the next dose of medication, hospice patients should skip the missed dose and take their next scheduled dose instead.
Avoid Doubling Dosing
Hospice patients should not double up their dose of medicine to make up for a missed dose. Taking a double dose of medication can temporarily increase the amount of medication in their system and lead to unwanted side effects and higher risk rather than benefit. This could especially be true if hospice patients are taking multiple medications.
When In Doubt
Hospice patients or their caregivers should call their local pharmacist or physician if they’ve missed a dose or are uncertain what to do next. The pharmacist is a great source of medical advice.
Tips For Remembering Medication
To help reduce the risk of forgetting to take certain medications, hospice patients or their caregivers should take a few important steps:
1. Sticking to a routine will help hospice patients avoid forgetfulness and maintain a stable condition. It’s also important to know if the patient can take medication on an empty stomach or after a meal. This information will help caregivers and patients decide what tasks will be a natural reminder to take medication.
2. Medication should also be kept in one location, such as on the bathroom sink or kitchen counter. When the caregiver or hospice patient sees the pill box, they’ll know it’s time to take medication.
3. A smartphone application that sends notifications to take medication could be another great way to receive reminders.