Live in Care and Medication: A Guide
Medication is often an important addition to someone’s daily routine. Depending on the type of medication, and how often the medication needs to be taken, a live-in carer may be the answer to you or your loved one’s needs.
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This guide looks into medication management, why its important, and how a live-in carer can assist with medication. This guide will cover: Why is medication management important? What happens if you take medication at the wrong time? Getting help with taking medication at home? How a live-in carer can help you
Why is medication management important?
Medication management is an important aspect of a healthcare routine. Ensuring that medication is taken on time and at the correct dose can be a daily struggle for some and the cost of a mistake can be high, with the health of the individual put at risk.
Medication management is broken down into five main areas;
- Administration of Medication
It is important to store medication in an appropriate place, away from children, pets or even adults who may not be able to understand the safe management of medicine. This may be in a locked cupboard or hidden out of sight. It is also important to consider the conditions in which medication are stored. Heat, air, light, and moisture can destroy medication so you will want to avoid exposure to these elements. It is best to store medication in a cool, dry place.
Some people find storing their medication in a Dosette box to be helpful for them. Dosette boxes are storage containers with small compartments that clearly show which tablets need to be taken on which day. Some Dosette boxes can be more advanced and allow pills to be spread out across a day or have locked compartments for security.
Dispensing includes the preparation and transfer of medication to the person taking the medication. The person needs to have as much independence as possible with dispensing their own medication. For some individuals, they may need support to ensure they receive the correct dosage and to ensure the correct medication is being taken at the right time. It may also be important to check the date of the medication, to make sure that the medication is not out of date and therefore unacceptable for usage. If this is the case, a pharmacy or GP may need to be contacted to order more medication.
Administration of Medication
For different medications and reasons for taking the medication, the route of administration may vary. The route indicates which body part the medication will be applied to. For instance, you may have topical medication that is most commonly applied to the skin or oral medication this is ingested via the mouth. Other routes can include transdermal, parenteral, nasal, transmucosal and ocular. Disposal
Medicines should be suitably disposed of. Throwing them down the sink, flushing them down the toilet or throwing them out with the rubbish is not the right practice. This is because disposed of medicines can contaminate the environment, or potentially end up in the wrong hands. All medicines, when disposed of, should be sealed in a tamper-proof bag and returned to or be collected by the pharmacy. Record – Keeping
There should be a record of the medication, dosage and when it should be taken. This is to ensure any risk is minimised. Records should also include a list of any possible side-effects of the medication.
What happens if you take medication at the wrong time?
This depends on the type of medication that is being taken, however, generally, it is not something that you want to do frequently. For some medications, if you take them at the wrong time they might not work so well, and the recipient may experience more side-effects and toxicity.
It is also important for some medication to be taken with food and not in conjunction with other medications, which may need to be considered when taking multiple medications per day.
Some conditions such as cardiovascular disease have a higher incidence of occurring in the mornings, so medication may need to be taken upon waking. The important thing to remember is that each medication will have its own set of guidelines and your doctor or pharmacist can also help you with understanding your medication regime. If you accidentally take a medication at the wrong time just once, then usually it is not too serious but repeatedly doing so may create ineffectiveness and put your health at risk.
Getting help with taking medication at home
As seen above, there are five major parts of medication management. Some people may require support with all five parts, others may need help with just one or two parts.
Medication management at home can be made easier when there is a carer who is trained and experienced in managing medication. A carer that comes into your home can provide you with support for all of the different aspects of medication management. This can help you feel reassured that your medication is as effective as possible. They can support you with taking your medication on time and take away some of the stress and worry around having to remember yourself.
Medication management services can provide a carer who has the expertise to manage a medication regime, while also providing someone who is aware of how it can disrupt your day. The carer can discuss medication requirements, side effects and concerns. A carer who comes into the home will understand that you or your loved one may feel uneasy about someone else taking over responsibility for your medication. A carer will ensure the recipient remains as independent as possible with medication management but they can be on hand to support your loved one, if needed.
How a live-in carer can help you
Live-in care or home care medication management is often preferred for many individuals who do not want to move to a residential care home. A live-in carer can provide support with medication management during both the day and night, which can be important for some individuals who need to take medication late at night or early in the morning. This means that the responsibility of taking medication throughout all hours of the day can be passed to a carer. A live-in carer will also develop a close relationship with the person being cared for, which can make medication management a more collaborative approach, whilst maintaining the individual’s independence.
A caring relationship will also help foster a sense of trust, which can ensure the cared for individual will feel more relaxed when it comes to responsibility for medication management. A live-in carer will understand about the cared-for individual’s daily routine, and how their medication regime fits in with this. They will also be well-rehearsed with the person’s routine, reducing the risk of error with medication administration.
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