They call it “running” errands for a reason – we have a tendency to feel like getting through them as quickly as possible! Nonetheless when it comes to picking up prescription drugs, slowing down and spending additional time to consult with the pharmacist, rather than buzzing through the drive-through, is very important – especially for senior loved ones who often take a variety of meds.
The following list of questions to ask the pharmacist is a good place to start to make sure you and the loved one you are caring for are equipped with the information needed:
- What, when and exactly how: To begin with, obtain clarification on the fundamentals, even though the most important information is normally printed on the label or associated paperwork. What’s the correct dose? Is there a certain time of day the medication needs to be taken? Will it be taken with food, water, milk, on an empty stomach, etc.?
- When errors arise: If too much or not enough of the med is ingested, or if a dose is forgotten, what action must be taken? What about if a senior loved one forgets having taken the medication and takes a duplicate quantity?
- Side effects: Once again, this info ought to be printed out for you, but the pharmacist can provide an excellent summary of the most prevalent negative effects to watch for, and what to do if any side effects or an allergic reaction takes place.
- What to avoid: Particular medications interact adversely with others, and on occasion even with various types of food. Others can lead to sleepiness or dizziness, which makes it hazardous to drive or operate machinery and increases the chance of a fall.
- Amount of time: Will this med need to be taken continuously, or is it short-term? If long-term, what quantity of refills are part of the prescription? And is there a shelf life/expiration date? What will happen if the medication is taken beyond this date?
Finally, be sure to ask about a review of all medications the senior is taking to check for any contraindications between medications. This is particularly needed for seniors acquiring prescriptions from several doctors and specialists. Ask the pharmacist if there’s any duplication in the senior’s list of meds to prevent overmedication. It may be that one physician has prescribed a generic version of a medication, while another wrote the prescription for the drug’s brand name.
Morning Glory Home Care will help ensure that seniors continue to be both knowledgeable with regard to the medications they are taking, and compliant in taking them just as prescribed. We are here to pick up prescriptions, provide transportation and accompaniment to the pharmacy to allow non-driving seniors to consult with the pharmacist, prompt seniors at the correct time to take meds, and much more.