SENIORS HEALTH: Proper medication management essential

Confusion common when patients require various prescriptions.

  • Aug. 28, 2015 11:00 a.m.

Taking a variety of medications can be confusing

The Seniors Health Network each month poses a question to health-care professionals.

This month, Fraser Health pharmacist Paul Polachek and Dr. Adil Virani, director of Lower Mainland Pharmacy Services, were told:

I simply can’t keep track of all my medications. Some pills I take twice a day, some every other day and it’s very confusing.

Polachek and Virani respond:

Taking medications can be very complicated and the mismanagement of medication is a significant reason for people being admitted to hospital.

Following these steps should help:

• Either you, your family, your physician, your nurse practitioner or your pharmacist needs to recognize there is a problem with your medication management.

Perhaps you’re not taking the pills as prescribed or not taking them at the prescribed frequency. You should not make changes on your own, and family and health-care providers should never assume that you have understood all the instructions and are taking the medication as intended. Community pharmacists can play a vital role in providing information; and in checking your adherence to your schedule and ensuring you have a schedule; checking about the effects of the medication (both good and bad); and generally conducting a regular medication review.

• Your medications need to be organized.

This means either your doctor/nurse or your pharmacist should conduct a comprehensive medication review looking at everything you’re taking, why you’re taking it, whether it’s still safe and effective for you and, of course, whether you are actually taking it.

An easy-to-follow schedule should be written out for you, or you could also use blister packs, a dosette box or a machine called “Compu-med” that dispenses the medication for you.

It can also be helpful for your family to provide some oversight, particularly related to medication like opiates, anti-coagulants, anti-inflammatories and anti-depressants.

Even if someone called you once a day to remind you what the day is and inquire about whether you’ve taken your meds today would help.

• Supports for you are available throughout the community.

Having friends or family provide you some help or some helpful reminders, regular contact with your physician and pharmacist, and a well-organized system you understand are all important.

• Fraser Health has a pharmacist working out of the White Rock/South Surrey area who specializes in seniors’ medication management. When referred, he visits seniors at home after discharge from hospital and he also takes referrals from physicians, nurse practitioners, home health, seniors clinic or from other health-care professionals. He will help you organize and manage your medications at home.

Speak to your health-care provider for further details.

If you need to speak with a pharmacist and your community pharmacist is not available, you can call 811 and a pharmacist will provide advice.

The South Surrey White Rock Seniors Health Network is a coalition of seniors service providers funded by the Peace Arch Hospital & Community Health Foundation, and working under the auspices of the Mayor of White Rock’s office. If you have a question for publication, please email seniorshealthnetworksswr@gmail.com

Just Posted

New West mayor says Surrey won’t be left out in transit 10-year plan

Jonathan Cote one of two speakers at luncheon focusing on transportation, land use planning

UPDATE: Missing Surrey snowshoer found dead on Mt. Seymour

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside North Delta elementary school

The officer was intervening in an alleged assault outside of Immaculate Conception School when he and the woman were stabbed

Suspect charged after four Surrey banks were robbed in just four hours

Financial institutions in North Surrey targeted on Feb. 12

Surrey says WorkSafeBC should be in charge of asbestos abatement

City staff say WorkSafeBC has ‘greater knowledge, experience and expertise’ concerning asbestos

VIDEO: Nail-biter game against Germany tonight earns Langley’s Team Canada a win

Langley’s Team Tardi is 5-2 at the junior curling worlds in Nova Scotia, hoping to defend their title

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

Most Read

l -->