Tips for How Family Caregivers Can Prevent Medication Errors

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How Family Caregivers Can Avoid Medication Errors in Lehigh Valley, PA

Medications are more effective when taken correctly. Caregivers should remember that even one mistake could have serious consequences, depending on the type of prescription and the magnitude of the error. Below are some tips family caregivers can use to prevent medication mishaps.

Use One Pharmacy

It may be cheaper to have prescriptions filled at different pharmacies, but it could also increase the risk of medication errors. You can save time and reduce the risk of forgetting to fill a prescription by picking up the medications from one place. Becoming familiar with your loved one’s pharmacist could lead to personalized service. For instance, the pharmacist can check for harmful interactions among the various medications or give your senior parent advice to ensure his or her current medications work effectively.

Follow Directions

The way medications work for your loved one may be different compared to other seniors. You need to follow the directions given by your loved one’s physician and the pharmacist to keep your loved one from taking the wrong dosage or being overmedicated. The prescription label generally lists the directions as well as ingredients and other important warnings that help family caregivers prevent mishaps. 

For some seniors, failing to take medications correctly can have life-threatening consequences. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Lehigh Valley seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Never Mix Medications

It’s common for family caregivers to take supplements or prescriptions of their own. The danger here is keeping those medications in the same area as their senior parents’ prescriptions. If you do this, your loved one could take your medication by mistake, putting his or her health in danger. Likewise, if you take your loved one’s prescription by accident, the error could lead to serious health issues. It’s imperative that you store your own medication in another area of the home to prevent a mishap. 

If you aren’t always able to be with your loved one to make sure he or she takes medications correctly, consider hiring a professional caregiver. In Lehigh Valley, elderly home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Use Medication Management Apps

Missing a dosage isn’t good, but you should never have your parent double the dosage to make up for the mishap. This type of error can be avoided by using medication apps. Your parent can download an app on his or her smartphone, tablet, or other web-enabled device. Medication-management apps can alert seniors and caregivers when it’s time to take a prescription. They list each medication’s name, the dosage amounts, and other important information. You can add notes to the app detailing how your loved one is responding to the medication and then share this information with his or her doctor at the next visit.

Never Stop a Medication

Your loved one shouldn’t stop taking a prescription, even if he or she feels better. The medication needs to be taken in its entirety unless the physician instructs otherwise. However, if your loved one feels great after taking a medication, you can share this information with his or her medical provider. The doctor may lower the dosage amount, choose an alternative medication, or decide your loved one no longer needs to take the prescription.

Seniors need to make sure they take medications as prescribed, and having a professional caregiver close by can be just what an aging adult needs to be reminded how and when to take medicine. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Lehigh Valley senior home care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at 484-350-3874.


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