They call it “running” errands for a reason – we are inclined to feel like getting through them as quickly as possible! Nonetheless, in terms of picking up prescription medications, slowing down and spending additional time to speak with the pharmacist, rather than buzzing through the pharmacy drive-through, is important – especially for senior loved ones who frequently take many different meds.
The following list of questions to ask the pharmacist is an easy starting point to make sure both you and the loved one you are caring for are armed with the information needed:
- What, when and exactly how: First off, get clarification about the basics, although the most important details are normally printed on the label or associated paperwork. What’s the recommended dose? Is there a precise time of day the medication must be taken? Is it taken with food, water, milk, on an empty stomach, etc.?
- When errors arise: If too much or not enough of the medication is taken, or if a dose is forgotten, what measures should be taken? How about if a senior loved one does not remember having taken the medication and takes a double quantity?
- Side effects: Once again, this info ought to be printed out for you, but the pharmacist can supply you with an excellent review of the most frequent reactions to look out for, and what you can do if any ill effects or an allergic reaction takes place.
- What to avoid: particular medications interact negatively with others, and sometimes even with different kinds of food. Others can cause drowsiness or dizziness, which makes it dangerous to drive or operate machinery and raises the danger of a fall.
- Amount of time: Will this medication need to be taken ongoing, or is it short-term? If long-term, what number of refills are included in the prescription? And is there a shelf life/expiration date? What happens in the event that medication is taken beyond this date?
Lastly, be sure to ask about an evaluation of all medications the senior is taking to check for any contraindications between medications. This is especially beneficial for older adults receiving prescriptions from multiple medical professionals and specialists. Ask the pharmacist if there is any duplication in the senior’s list of meds to prevent overmedication. It may be that one doctor has prescribed a generic version of a medication, whereas another wrote the prescription for the drug’s brand name.
Hearts at Home In-Home Care will help make certain seniors continue to be both knowledgeable in respect to the medications they’re taking, and compliant in taking them exactly as prescribed. We’re here to pick up prescriptions, provide transportation and accompaniment to the pharmacy to allow non-driving older adults to consult with the pharmacist, prompt older adults at the appropriate time to take meds, and more.