Mistakes managing medication send 770,000 people to the emergency room every year, according to the Institute of Medicine. For caregivers of an aging loved one or someone living with a disability, finding ways to help them safely track and administer their own medicine may mean the difference between maintaining their independence at home and having to move to a group home or assisted living community. Today’s technologies open up new options.
Medication Management Systems
Almost 90% of older adults take at least one medication each day and 41% of them take five or more. For caregivers, finding a reliable system that can accommodate all of these medicines is important. As is finding one that will remind the user it is time to take a medication and which one they need to take. An added advantage is to find a system that will go a step further and alert a caregiver if a medication isn’t taken on time.
If we start by exploring a few of the simpler medication medicine technologies, MedReady products earn high reviews. The basic models keep medicines in a locked dispenser. When it is time for the medication to be taken, a compartment with the medicine opens and an alarm sounds. There are also products in this line that can add a flashing light to provide a visual cue that it is time to take a medication, and an option to add a call center feature that will notify a caregiver if a medication dosage is missed.
Another line of technology products for medication management that receive good reviews are the MedMinder systems. These work off of cellular technologies. The pillbox style dispensers can be set up to accommodate multiple medications. When it is time for a dosage, the user can be alerted with visual and/or auditory cues. If the medication isn’t taken, the system can alert the caregiver by email, text or phone. The MedMinder Jon system is one model that features a locked dispenser. When it is time for a dosage only the compartment with that medication opens. That helps users avoid taking the wrong medication by mistake.
Care Manager to Support Medication Management
The services of an experienced care manager can be used in conjunction with these technologies. They can work with the client’s physicians to make sure they are taking the right dosages of each medicine and supervise their overall medication schedule compliance.