According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average senior takes at least four prescription medications on a daily basis. This number rises as we age and many seniors find it difficult to keep track of the medications and schedules they must adhere to.
The responsibility for medications often falls to caregivers to ensure that the elder is getting the right meds at the right time but even for a younger caregiver, keeping track of all the whats and whens can be difficult. A medication tracker may be the answer to help you ensure that your senior charge gets his medication on time.
A medication tracker is simply an organized list of medications. It includes:
This can be accomplished by a simple spreadsheet created in a program such as Microsoft Excel or online with a simple Google search.
In addition, it may be helpful to have a daily checklist to ensure that the instructions for each medication are followed every day.
The medication tracker and checklist should be kept close to the medication supply and readily available in the event that another caretaker is required to assist the senior. It may also be helpful to maintain a folder that includes the patient information leaflet and receipt for last refill in a folder, also close by.
Many prescription medications have drug interactions or dietary restrictions. It’s essential that each physician the senior is treated by has a complete list of medications prescribed by other physicians. The same pharmacy should be used to fill all the senior’s medications so that the pharmacist may check for drug interactions and note any other problems in the medication regimen.
Don’t forget to include daily supplements or vitamins and any over-the-counter medication that is taken as well. It should be included on the medication tracker, and in notifications to physicians and the pharmacy.
Being organized about medication schedules and regimens can help to avoid medication errors or conditions caused by drug interactions, any of which can pose a danger to the elder.
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