It has been reported that approximately 1.5 million medication mistakes happen every year, with 100,000 of those mistakes resulting in death (from caring.com). And the mistakes are not limited to the home. Mistakes can be made by the doctor, by the pharmacist and even in the hospital. There are several things you can do that will help in preventing medication mistakes.

Know your medications. Why are you taking it? What are the common side affects? What is the correct dosage for you? How often do you take it?

Frequently review your medications. Particularly if it is a maintenace drug, make sure you still need it at the same dosage. Has your condition changed? Understand how multiple medications can impact you. And how do the different drugs interact?

Seek counsel. Don’t hesitate to ask your physician or pharmacist any question about your medication. The old phrase “no question is a dumb question” applies here. When it comes to preventing medication mistakes or any of your medical needs, your medical professionals are available to discuss any concerns or questions you have.

Use tools and/or technology. While technology is booming across our society, medication management has not been left behind. There are many medication management solutions available that allow you to set reminders and alerts, right to your wireless phone or computer. The MedMinder and MedReady are popular tools. And of course there is the tried and true weekly pill organizers. Bottom line, use whatever tool or technology that helps in preventing medication mistakes.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) strongly encourages people to be informed and to ask their doctor or pharmacist questions about their medications. Below is a list of questions recommended by NLM.

  • Why am I taking this medicine?
  • What are the common side effects to watch out for?
  • What should I do if they occur?
  • When should I stop this medicine?
  • Can I take this medicine with my other medicines?

For seniors who are aging in place, medication management is extremely important. The senior and/or caregiver must be fully aware of all medications, the purpose, the dosage, and the side effects.

Please contact Select Home Care Pasadena if you have any questions about preventing medication mistakes or any senior home care concern.