Non Compliance relating to medication is one of the biggest issues in healthcare generally. It’s a big challenge that comes with an aging population given that the number of medications taken often increases with age.
25% of those over age 65 have 3 or more chronic conditions that often need to be treated with multiple medications. 90% of older adults use one or more prescription medications.
Managing multiple medications is no easy task but taking the right medication at the right time is important as the adverse effects of not doing so can be really detrimental or even life threatening.
Errors taking medications are far too common; they are the leading cause of hospital admission. Approximately 30% of all hospital admissions for those over age 65 are directly related to a missed does or an overdose of medication. As well, the inability to manage medications often plays a role in the decision to enter long term care.
Medication-related problems can cause or contribute to a variety of problems including confusion, falls, incontinence, insomnia, loss of coordination, depression, dehydration, memory loss or fainting. These sorts of problems all add up to an increased risk of a loss in independence that most desire. If you or a loved one is having difficulty related to medication or there is confusion about what medication is being taken for or concern about the possible interaction of different medications it’s important to talk to your physician. However, your pharmacist may also be able to assist.
MedsCheck-Most pharmacies now offer a complimentary service where you can bring all medications in for a review. In Ontario, that service is known as MedsCheck which is sponsored by the Ministry of Health & Long Term Care which offers a 20-30 minute annual one-on-one appointment with a community pharmacist for anyone that is taking more than 3 medications. The visit helps ensure that medications are being taken safely and appropriately. It also allows an opportunity to discuss any concerns about interactions between different drugs. Sometimes certain patients are eligible for more than one MedsCheck appointment in the year. As well, certain patients are eligible for a private home one-on-one consultation. Find out more about the Medscheck program here
However, the leading cause of not taking medications properly is forgetfulness and the absence of any reminder to take medication. Some suggestions for help with this issue include:
Keep an up to date list of all medications and supplements being taken and post it in where it can be seen often. Ensure that caregivers or loved ones have a copy of that list and that a copy also travels with you at all times. Detail electronic medication lists are available online
Blister Packs can help Most pharmacies also offer “blister packs” where medications are placed in a sealed blister packcard with labelled pouches for each dose. This provides patients with a clear visual reminder of what is taken & when to reduce confusion
Medication Reminders, Organizers and Timers can make a big difference
A variety of technology enabled products are now available to help improve patient safety and reduce the chance of non compliance. Options vary between strictly a timer to an organizer to dispenser or a combination of each. The choice depends on the help needed which may vary from needing a simple prompt to a situation where there is a risk of identifying or remembering to take a medication or reducing the risk of taking too much medication or taking it at the wrong intervals.
The technology products we have listed on our site include Reminders, Organizers & Timers and they are simple to use and afforable at the same time. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information or if you are looking for an option to address a specific concern or issue.
Check out our Med Management Solutions