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Helping Hands: Medication Aids
Managing medications can be challenging… n Especially if there are issues related to… – Frequency of administration – Number of medications – Visual limitations – Cognition – Dexterity
The aging process can complicate one’s ability to manage medications. List some of the health problems that may make medication management difficult for older adults.
Were any of the following on your list? n n n n Peripheral neuropathy Macular degeneration Arthritis Cataracts Hemiplegia Parkinsonism Alzheimer's Each of these conditions presents with some kind of difficulty with … • reading medicine bottles • opening bottles • remembering when to take medications
Remember the Person. Environment Fit Model? Changes in Personal Competence n reading medicine bottles n opening bottles n remembering when to take medications Increased Environmental Press n n n increasing number of medications small print med labels decreased availability of assistance
The person-environment fit model can help with the selection of the most appropriate tool to manage medications. Remember, the goal is a balance between personal competence and environmental press so the individual can function at his or her maximum level of independence.
Many older adults find the childproof caps difficult to open. The challenge is the coordination, strength, and dexterity necessary to open the bottle.
Those with arthritis benefit from having the pharmacy turn the childproof cap around so the bottle cap can be twisted off easily. However, caution should be taken if children are in the home. The twist top bottles are no longer child resistant.
Medication organizers can help an older adult manage complex medication regimens by providing a tool to increase personal competence while managing higher environmental press.
But medication organizers are not all alike… So, how do you choose?
Choosing a medication organizer n Assess – Dexterity of client – Visual acuity of client – Cognitive ability – Client’s daily routine – Number of medications – Frequency of medication administration
7 -Day organizer, four slots for each day. n n n Clear box, room for small tablets and capsules Open one slot at a time and turn over to dispense medications Not good for larger medications (calcium, potassium) Pills go in the tray
Open the sliding door for the day and time and turn over
These single slot boxes work well for… n n Vitamins Supplements (calcium, fiber tablets) Daily medications Twice daily medications (e. g. , white box for morning meds and blue box for bedtime meds) *Note the letter contrast between the boxes, which one is the easiest to read?
Weekly/Daily Medication Organizer n n This medication organizer is inexpensive, covers a week, and has 4 slots for each day. This one is good for the very independent individual who needs to take lunchtime or afternoon pills while out of the house.
However, if dropped, problems could result… n if the medications vary from day to day (Coumadin for example) n if visually unable to return dropped boxes correctly on the holder (could be replaced upside -down) AM or PM ?
Medication management can be extremely challenging. n n When possible, see if number of medications can be reduced Have a sample of medication aids and see which ones are easy for the individual to use Assess client’s usual routine to coordinate medication administration Once a day medications don’t always have to be given in the morning, some can be taken at noon (too many medications at one time can interfere with one’s appetite)
Caregiver assistance n Medication organizers provide… – a way to set medications up for a week at a time – a reminder for calling in refills – a way to check what medications might not be taken routinely
If traveling, remind older adults to take… their medication organizer n their prescription bottles n Written prescriptions in case of lost medications n
Helping Hands: Medication Aids was created by Catherine Van Son, Ph. D. , R. N. for the Older Adult Focus Project, OHSU School of Nursing.