How-to Series: Caregiver 101 - Medications

Medications can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned caregiver.  Below are some tips to help you get your client or loved ones medications organized and ensure that there is no chance for drug interactions or other problems.

Keep track of all medications.

Write down all medications, dosages and times meds should be taken.  I encourage you to go check out our caregiver medication form.  It allows you to keep track of different medications, dosages, directions and what its used for.  When the doctor gives new orders at doctor visits or over the phone, this form is especially helpful in keeping that medication information up-to-date.

There is a place for primary doctor contact information and additional information may be entered at the bottom.  This form really comes in handy at doctors appointments, emergency room visits and ambulance calls.  When medications change or you get a new prescription, be sure to change your forms.  Keep the form with you whenever you go anywhere so it is handy if you need it.

Be informed and always let all doctors know what medications are being taken.

Sometimes your client or loved one may have a few different doctors and they ALL need to be informed of all medications and how they are being used to avoid dangerous interactions.  Read the inserts that come with your medications and talk to the doctor so that you completely understand why the medication is being prescribed.

My grandmother had an instance where a doctor had used a medication for something other than what the medication was usually used for.  He was using in combination with another drug, I believe to keep get her blood pressure under control.  She forgot why the doctor was giving it to her and when she went to another doctor, he asked her about it, she didnt remember and he told her to quit taking it.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  If you dont understand something, ask your doctor or pharmacist.  Ask until you understand.

Double check medications when picking them up from the pharmacy.  Check the label, look at the pill, etc. and make sure that the pill, dosage instructions, and label match the information on the insert.  Mistakes are rare, but they do happen.

Ask questions!

When a doctor prescribes new medications, ask if there are any special instructions.  When is the best time to take it?  What foods should be avoided when taking it?  Should be taken on an empty or full stomach and ask about side effects.  Make sure you write down the answers so you don't forget.  When you are dealing with several medications even the best caregivers can forget important information.

Store, despense and dispose of medications properly.

Keep medications in a cool, dry place.  Keep them in the original containers to avoid mix-ups

I have heard that some people cut pills in half or take half doses to save money.  Be sure to ask the doctor before you start cutting pills or dispensing half doses as it can affect how some medications are absorbed in the body and change how they work.  If you are having trouble paying for your meds, check out our post about how to get help HERE.

If you are unsure how to dispose of unused and expired medications, check out

No comments:

Post a Comment