Monday, July 6, 2015

Helping Caregivers to Manage the Meds

The role of a caregiver is complex.  There are many different responsibilities that are rolled into the work of a caregiver.  From support system to health aide, a caregiver provides for the mental, emotional and physical.

There are many health service developments making stunning breakthroughs and extending longevity and quality of life but there are still so few resources for the millions of caregivers out there faithfully serving loved ones.

One of the key responsibilities of a caregiver is managing medication.  For many, judging multiple doses, endless bottles and continuous renewals takes up precious time that could be spent doing other things.  Here are a few tips to better manage medication and keep you from wondering, “Did I administer that dose correctly?”

Use Technology
Your phone has the ability to set reminders and alarms that can be repeated and labeled at set times every day. This is an easy way to use a tool that has evolved greatly over the past few years.  Gone are the days of days of sticky notes on the fridge or intense spreadsheets that could be marked or read wrong.  Now there is a simple way to set dosage reminders right at your finger tips!  

Simplify Your Pharmacy
You may need some practical tools. PillPack is a company that is transforming the pharmacy model to help patients and caregivers who are managing multiple medications.  They are hoping to reduce medication errors, which, of course, will reduce hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

This is done through a service of pre-sorted medications that include labels of when and how to take each pill.  PillPack coordinates refills and delivers to you: they guarantee on-time (and free!) shipping. You have the ability to manage medications online through a dashboard that includes tracking shipments, billing information and a calendar of all of your critical dates. The dashboard itself is a tool for caregivers. It gives you the ability to manage medication without an additional call to the doctors or insurance company.

Keep A Schedule
Remind your loved one pair’s morning pills with making the coffee and evening pills with dinner.  If you associate the medicine you administer with certain medicines with other, everyday tasks, it will become more of a habit than a hassle.  Always be sure to be complying with the specific restraints of medications by checking their labels!  Make sure you know if a medication needs to be taken with food before giving it on an empty stomach.  

 Always remember to take time for yourself. Taking time away is key for your mental, physical and emotional health.  Make sure, as a caretaker, you are setting time aside for a hobby, a support group, or just a weekly coffee date.  Not running yourself into the ground is a key component of being able to care for a loved when dealing with cancer.

If you are not in a healthy state, you will not be able to manage medicine for another.  Make sure you staying alert to warning signs of burning out.  Hopefully these tips will help with your medicine management and free up time that can be spent elsewhere!

Today’s guest blogger is Hannah T. who works for an online pharmacy in New Hampshire and who knows a lot about medication management.

Thanks Hannah!


Marcia Sherman said...

I agree. Caregiving is a tough job, because you have to juggle several tasks at once; each of them crucial and each one has lives depending on it. Thanks for giving us a very strong perspective on how it is like, and why it is needed. Good day!

Marcia Sherman @ Comfort Keepers

Rochel Badger said...

Caregiving is all about planning and preparation. Most importantly, it is about being commitment to one’s client, as their well-being depends on your actions. Anyway, thanks for elaborating on these things, Martha. Good day!

Rochel Badger @ Home Watch Caregivers