Medicines can be life-improving and life-saving, but there is a hidden risk with prescription medications that can be life-threatening — the risk of medication non-adherence.
Taking a prescription improperly is dangerous. In fact, as many as 125,000 individuals die each year due to prescription medication non-adherence, double the number who will die in car accidents. While many people assume they are following the rules when it comes to their medications, the care managers at Stowell Associates understand that medication adherence issues take place frequently. These mistakes include:
- Failing to fill a prescribed drug
- Missing one or more dosages
- Taking the wrong medicine
- Taking more medication than prescribed
- Prematurely stopping medication
- Improper use of equipment such as inhalers or syringes
- Taking expired, damaged, or incorrectly stored medications
Medication adherence can be a particularly significant problem among the elderly who take multiple prescription medications. However, research shows that, with the proper motivation, knowledge, and support, elders can break through many barriers to medication adherence. The following are several solutions from our Wisconsin care management team to help with typical causes of medication non-adherence.
Memory Issues: A leading issue when it comes to medication adherence among older individuals is memory loss. People with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease might forget to take their medications or even take multiple doses, having forgotten that they took the medication previously.
- Solution: Make taking medication part of an everyday habit, using pill dispensers and/or charts to stay organized.
Trouble Swallowing Pills: Some older adults have difficulty swallowing, and might attempt to chew up or crush medicines, causing long-acting drugs to be released into the body too fast.
- Solution: Find out from the patient’s doctor or pharmacist if the medicine is offered in a liquid or smaller tablet form that is less difficult to swallow.
Inability to Fill Prescriptions: Some older adults may be homebound or are not able to drive or easily access transportation and cannot consistently pick up prescriptions.
- Solutions: Ask the drug store about mail order prescriptions that can be sent to the home, or hire a care management team, like the Waukesha home care team at Stowell Associates, to provide transportation to the pharmacy, as well as doctors’ appointments and other outings.
Taking prescription medications the right way is imperative to your senior loved one’s health. Taking prescription medications incorrectly is hazardous. If you have a loved one who is struggling with one of these barriers or any other hindrance in adhering to medications, contact the Milwaukee and Waukesha area home care management experts at Stowell Associates today at 414-963-2600 for information about care in the Milwaukee area or at 262-521-3016 for information about care in Waukesha and the surrounding areas.