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4 Tips for Caregivers Managing Medications

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One of the most time-consuming and challenging tasks as a caregiver is managing various medications, vitamins and supplements. Being responsible for getting your loved ones’ prescriptions filled and constantly making sure there isn’t any potential for adverse drug interactions or side effects can be exhausting.

We know that tracking, organizing and dispensing all of the liquids, pills, ointments, creams, eye drops, nasal sprays and the like is stressful. Here are some useful tips to help caregivers survive medication-management for their friends or relatives.

  • Be organized.

    • Compile a record of current medications using simple forms that makes tracking meds manageable. The record can be simple, listing only current meds or more comprehensive to include prescriber information and patient demographics.

    • Use pill boxes to physically organize daily, weekly, monthly medications.

  • Know the side effects and warnings of each medication which can be found on auxiliary labels located on each bottle of medication. Additional side effects and warnings can be found on pamphlets attached to medications picked up from pharmacy. Make a list (can be included on medication record form) of symptoms to look out for.

  • Use one pharmacy. Having your prescriptions in one place ensures a thorough assessment of possible drug interactions and duplicate therapies, and decreases confusion.

  • Stay aware.

    • ​​Pay attention to “discard by” dates found on prescription bottles and expiration dates on products bought over-the-counter. Sometimes using products past the expiration date can be harmful.

    • Keep an eye out for medications that are out of refills. It’s good practice to notify your pharmacy ahead of time (at least one week) so they can contact your prescriber for additional refills.

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