The American Geriatrics Society reports that over 30% of senior citizens respond adversely to their prescribed medications. Why? There are multiple reasons as to why, but the major one doesn’t lie in forgetfulness as so many have thought through the years. The primary problem is a lack of medication awareness, and this can only be conquered through education. The good news is that Home Care Agencies can be a welcoming aid regarding these very issues. With research showing that well over 40% of the elderly are prescribed more than one medication, it is even more crucial to provide educational awareness on the importance of sticking to a medication therapy regimen and managing it.
When elderly patients must take multiple medications, there is a higher risk for negative drug interactions to occur. However, with the right tools in place and proper assistance seniors can correctly manage their medications and live safer, healthier lives. Having something such as a medication call reminder service and an educated caregiver on hand can steadily decrease the risks many senior patients battle with. The fact is that as we become older we need better ways to manage existing health worries. Once again, the proper tools can prevent problems from arising and minimize risks for new ones as well. If anything, the overwhelming, sinking feeling many senior citizens confront when dealing with many medications can be removed. This task can be made easier for everyone. Adherence can be guaranteed.
Integrating Steps to Keep Seniors on Track with their Medication Therapy
There are many steps that Home Health Care agencies put into place to improve senior living in the home, with one of the most prevalent being establishing medication schedules to minimize confusion and adverse drug interactions. Some medications cannot be taken together so a set schedule can become routine if it is followed regularly. While there is a unique set of challenges seniors face living at home alone, they can be limited. Today, thankfully to the advancement of IT technology, there are numerous services that can be accessed for elderly patients right from home. From a reminder service, to an online pill organizer, to even educational programs online—these services are known to eliminate mistakes such as: missing doses of medication, doubling up meds, mixing medications and more. There simply needs to be steps like these mentioned carried out to ensure a reliable medication management plan can be created. But of course, it takes multiple people working together to create a correct plan of action as each senior patient is definitely authentic and has their own views about prescription drugs.
What Can Home Health Care Agencies Integrate for In Home Senior Care?
The effective practices in home health care include medication management, but it never hurts to introduce new ideas and strategies to turn the tide and improve patient compliance. One area of home health care that needs to be addressed and which truly needs an adjustment is regarding elderly patients who can’t afford consistent in home nursing services and often fall through the cracks. It is these very people who suffer adversities due to confusion about prescription medications. Nine times out of ten it is never intentional, and it isn’t always due to forgetfulness either; but it is due to a lack of clarity on the purpose of the medications these patients are taking. One major step that home health care agencies can apply involves implementing a method that would dispense medications directly to the elderly through home visits.
The assigned caregiver, brought on through a Home Health Care Agency can also be kept up-to-date with mobile technology today. When medication is being dispensed in the home (perhaps in a weekly organizer) the medication call reminder service can send a notice to the agency and other professional care givers involved that the senior is responding and intending to stay on track of their medication therapy plan. It is important to point out that it takes more than one service to ensure a continuation of adherence. Home Health Care Agencies today often integrate these 10 strategies to help facilitate better in home care and to education seniors on the importance of taking their prescribed medications as prescribed.
- Dispense medication in the home, on a schedule to the patient
- Discuss services and mobile technology that can help keep pills organized and well managed
- Discuss needs with the primary relative who is the caregiver in absence of a nurse professional
- Educate the patient on the benefits of taking specific medications prescribed
- Provide services that reach rural seniors who can’t get in to a pharmacy or regular appointments on a set schedule
- Provide support and communication when visiting with the senior to ensure they are responding well to medication management
- Provide telephonic services for communication when meetings are unavailable
- Keep documented records of a patients’ medication schedule and how often they are taking medications
- Explain why a new medication is prescribed and what a patient can expect
- Help develop a support network for the patient so they have consistent outreach