AlzU Blog

Medication Safety Tips for Caregivers

If you are a caregiver, responsible for giving your loved one’s medications every day, you probably already know how overwhelming the daily task can be.  Then add to that, your own (or a spouse’s) medical regime and it can be even more daunting. 

Here are some tips to help caregivers get organized when it comes to safe medication administration:
1.Keep a list-write down all the names of the prescription medications as well as over the counter drugs and supplements, be sure to keep a list of the physician who prescribed each medication and the dosage, and time of day each drug should be given
2.Keep your medication list updated as new meds are added or discontinued and take this list with you every time you have a doctor’s visit.
3.Always keep medications in the original bottles to ensure you are giving the correct drug at the right time to the right person.
4.Be sure to follow all instructions exactly as the appear on the original bottle from the pharmacist, for example if the bottle says “take with meals,” be sure to give that particular medication at meal time
5.Be aware that some medications can be harmful if stopped abruptly-if you are unsure contact your pharmacist or physician
6.Educate yourself on possible side effects of each medication, if you are unsure or the label is too confusing, be sure to ask the physician (or pharmacist) and keep notes on which side effects to be aware of
7.If you do observe any side effects, be sure to inform the physician immediately
8.Never give medication to any person other than the individual it was prescribed for
9.Keep your medications locked up if you have small children or if your loved one has dementia
10.Check expirations dates of all medications frequently and notify your pharmacy when meds expire
11.Do not drink alcohol with medication unless your physician has given the okay
12.Keep each person’s medication in a separate location to avoid accidentally mixing up family member’s meds
According to the National Institute of Health, the following are vital questions to ask the physician about medications:
•What is the name of the medicine and why am I taking it?
•What medical condition does this medicine treat?
•How many times a day should I take this medicine? How much medicine should I take?
•How long will it take this medicine to work?  When should I stop taking it?
•What should I do if I miss a dose?
•Are there any side effects?  When should I call you if I am having side effects?
•Can I safely mix this medicine with the remedies, vitamins and over the counter drugs I am currently taking?
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