Care Seeker Resources

A collection of resources to help you navigate the care continuum.

By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: May 01, 2017

How to effectively communicate with a care provider

As a patient, your relationship with a care provider is essential in recovery, preventing disease and maintaining your overall health.

As a patient, your relationship with a care provider is essential in recovery, preventing disease and maintaining your overall health. This is especially true if you are seeking home health services. Although health professionals can run tests and observe your medical data to reach conclusions or diagnoses and offer treatment, a lot of investigatory work they do comes from effective communication with you or your loved one.

Why communication matters in health
Many patients don't realize how much power they have in determining their own health outcomes, and a lot of that starts with the way they communicate with care providers. Patients actually have more access to information about preventative disease, alternative medicine, and traditional treatments than ever before with the internet as well.

That's why, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance, many medical professionals are now seeing the doctor-patient relationship as a partnership. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health also concluded that communication between doctors, patients, and their families actually improves patient health because they are more engaged and knowledgeable.

 

Come prepared to talk about your medical history with your care provider.

Come prepared to talk about your medical history with your care provider.

That means that you need to prepare for your medical appointments, break down barriers between yourself and your caregivers, and learn how to adequately communicate with medical personnel in a meaningful way. Not only does this remove the risk of medical error on their end, but it also helps you become better educated in your own health.

Learning how to communicate with health professionals
Communicating about your medical history with someone you just met might seem a little daunting, but there are ways to remove those barriers. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your next appointment:

  • Have a list of questions prepared beforehand: In the days leading up to your appointment, write down some of the lingering questions you have about a certain condition or your general health. This ensures you don't leave anything important out, and it makes the appointment flow much more smoothly.
  • Think about bringing along a family member or friend for support: This can be especially helpful for those with physical disabilities or patients with cognitive decline. These individuals can keep notes about your care professional's treatment recommendations and also help you remember details about your medical history.
  • Be honest about your medical history: In order for your doctor to make the right recommendations, he or she will need to have a full and clear account of any conditions you may have struggled with in the past, whether they are physical, emotional or mental.
  • Include details about your mental health: Far too many people put their mental health on the back burner, but this aspect of your well-being is just as important in your recovery. If you have been noticing a cognitive decline or symptom of dementia, your care professional needs to know. Tackling these issues early on is key to prevention, and it starts with communication.

Clear communication with your doctor isn't just important for medical professionals, it's also imperative in keeping your health in the best shape possible moving forward. 

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: December 13, 2016

Qualities to look for in postoperative care

As a care seeker, there are a lot of things you will need to consider for postoperative care.

As a care seeker, there are a lot of things you will need to consider for postoperative care. Going through surgery or a procedure is only the beginning: Postoperative care is incredibly important as you heal from an operation, as the right care can lessen health complications and also bolster your recovery from a condition.

Basic postoperative needs
A lot of families prefer a caregiver be with their senior loved one consistently following an operation. There are a lot of reasons behind this: For instance, if a medical issue were to arise, such as an infection at the surgical site, a trained professional will he on-hand to give the best advice and ease worries. This is especially true for older patients, as their immune systems are weaker and response time to these medical events is critical.

Recovery is also every bit as important as the surgery itself. From dietary changes to physical activity to pain management, postoperative care requires a schedule and system that is best implemented by a medical provider who is trained in this field. Here are a few things you should look for in postoperative care:

 If you're recovering from surgery, postoperative care is crucial.

1. Caregiving 101: For recovery after most surgeries, your caregiver will need to understand some basic nursing credentials, such as checking vital signs, helping your loved one get dressed, administering medications and changing bandages. If the doctor recommends physical therapy, you might want to specifically look for a caregiver that also has a background in this field.

2. A focus on mobility: Many senior loved ones require home health services because they are recovering from an invasive surgery, such as a hip or knee replacement. For these types of operations, it is crucial that the patient is up and moving as soon as he or she is able to. Although every patient recovers differently from an operation, the main goal is to get your loved one back to normal, and that requires mobility.

3. Transparency about medical costs: Some recovery services and equipment might be covered by Medicare, while others require additional insurance or cost. According to the New York Times, most insurance companies will only pay for skilled care on a temporary basis if you are homebound. However, a good postoperative caregiving agency will be upfront ahead of time about what you need to get healthy as well as what is and is not covered so that you can make the right financial decisions for you and your family.

4. Care coordination: Part of caregiving requires care coordination. Depending on the operation, your loved one might require some tests after surgery to see if the surgery was successful. Your postoperative caregiver will be aware of these updates and implement the care techniques instructed from your physician.

The care you or your loved one receives after surgery is critical for long-term health. Be sure that you know the basics about postoperative care so that you can make the most informed decisions about your family's health and recovery.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Article  |  On: August 10, 2016

Home safety checklist for seniors

Your home is your safe haven, but for seniors, a house can all too easily turn into a maze of hazards. Fall-proof the space with these tips.

Your home is your safe haven, but for seniors, a house can too easily turn into a maze of hazards. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, 60 percent of falls occur at home, but these incidents may be preventable. If you're caring for an aging parent, there are steps you can take to create a sound living environment for your loved one. Use this checklist as your guide for making modifications for a happier, healthier home:

Ensure home has adequate lighting
No matter how good your eyesight is, maneuvering in the dark is next to impossible. Keep the senior safe by equipping the home with adequate lighting. Go around the house and check for burned-out bulbs and replace them as necessary.

Additionally, consider the overall lighting structure. Walk through the house at night with the lights on, and see where the home could use some brightness. Perhaps one hallways is particularly dark, or you have to walk upstairs before being able to turn on the second-level light. In this case, you might benefit from bringing in an electrician who can install light fixtures in these spaces.

 

Hand holding onto bathtub grab bar.

Install grab bars to promote safety at home.

Fall-proof the bathroom
The bathroom is one of the most common places for falls due to activities like climbing in and out of a tub and stepping on wet surfaces. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the older someone is when they slip in this room, the greater their risk for injury.

It only takes a few modifications to make the bathroom a little safer. Consumer Affairs advised installing grab bars near the tub and toilet. Remember, towel racks are not a replacement for grab bars, as they are not as sturdy and could easily dislodge from the wall under a person's weight.

To prevent falls in the shower itself, use non-slip bath mats or considering placing a shower chair in the tub. The latter option is especially beneficial for seniors who have trouble balancing.

Clean up
This simple task holds a lot of importance. Straightening up a home by clearing clutter, tucking away electrical cords and bringing stools back next to the table they belong to can go a long way in reducing the risk of tripping. The National Safety Council also advised wiping up spills as soon as they occur to prevent the senior from slipping on a wet surface.

Throw rugs are also a common cause for falls, as seniors may trip over their raised edges. Make sure rugs stay flat to the ground, or get rid of them altogether. You can certainly make someone feel accepted in your home without a welcome mat!

Some seniors may need assistance with daily living tasks to stay safe at home, even with these modifications. In this case, considering hiring a home health aide who can assist with bathing, dressing, eating and other duties.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Article  |  On: February 18, 2016

Top 3 questions to ask a geriatrician

The parent who once cared for you now needs your help, so it’s important to enter this endeavor with the right knowledge.

It can be a strange feeling to see family roles reverse before your very eyes. Whether it's your mother, father or another older loved one, he or she will have new health care needs with age. The transition may come as a surprise. If you've been away for several months, perhaps in another state raising your own family, it may not be until you get together during the holidays that you really notice the health decline. Suddenly, Mom's hands shake more rapidly as she reaches for her tea kettle, or Dad can't remember the name of your youngest daughter.

As this person's younger counterpart, the responsibility to find a reliable and suitable physician may fall on you. The parent who once cared for you now needs your help, so it's important to enter this endeavor with the right knowledge. Here are three questions to ask a potential physician:

1. Are you willing to coordinate with other doctors?
Your senior loved one likely sees more than one doctor, perhaps a dermatologist for dry skin and a gastroenterologist for stomach issues. This presents certain challenges for the patient's health care plan, especially when multiple physicians prescribe pain medications.

"Certain medications are linked to an increased risk for falls."

Researchers from Harvard Medical School found that 30 percent of Medicare patients who received opioid prescriptions got them from multiple doctors. The more painkillers seniors take, the higher their risk for hospitalization. To safeguard your senior loved one's well-being, it's vital for his or her physician to communicate, which is where care coordination comes into play.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, care coordination requires doctors to work together to deliver high-quality and value-based care by sharing patient information and collaborating on treatment plans. Care coordination also necessitates that physicians take the patient's preferences into account, agree on responsibility and aid in care transitions.

2. What is your perspective on medications?
There is nothing wrong with using prescription drugs in treatment plans when patients need them, but it's important for health care professionals to weigh all options equally. Doing so not only opens up opportunities for more effective care, but it also limits the dangers of taking multiple medications. According to a study published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, certain medications are linked to an increased risk for falls, which is already the leading cause of injury among seniors.

Sometimes, prescriptions are the best route, and if that's the case, the doctor must have a plan to help the senior manage those medications. Ask the physician what tools he or she uses to educate patients on use and dosage. Does the doctor ever review the medication list to determine whether certain prescriptions are still necessary? How does the physician communicate with other health care professionals who write prescriptions for your loved one?

 

Doctor writing on clipboard.Ask the doctor what his or her referral process is like.

3. What does your referral process look like?
The adage "two heads are better than one" holds true in just about every facet of life, including health care. A geriatrician specializes in the health care of older adults, but your loved one may have unique needs that fall out of his or her primary care doctor's expertise. For instance, a senior with early signs of dementia may need to see a neurologist. Meanwhile, a patient with a history of cancer may require care from an oncologist.

The older adult's doctor must be willing to make referrals as necessary, but sometimes the medical facility they work at makes that difficult. Ask the physician about the referral process to determine how convenient it will be for your senior loved one to see specialists in the future.

While these questions offer an effective guide to gauging whether a geriatrician is the right match for your senior loved one, not all answers will come from queries. Pay attention to the physician's demeanor, too. Is he or she reluctant to answer questions? Does the doctor seem genuinely interested in your family member's unique needs? Be sure to make a decision that sits well with both you and the senior.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: October 28, 2015

Stroke Prevention - You can help the person in your care avoid a stroke

October 29, 2015 has been designated as World Stroke Day by the American Stroke Association. Read here to learn the signs of a stroke.

Tomorrow, October 29, 2015, has been designated as World Stroke Day by the American Stroke Association. The statistics are staggering:

  • Stroke kills almost 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 out of every 20 deaths.
  • On average, one American dies from stroke every 4 minutes.
  • Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke.
  • About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.
  • About 185,000 strokes—nearly one of four—are in people who have had a previous stroke.  Centers for Disease Control/stroke/facts
  • Has the person in your care had a stroke or several strokes? Is he or she at risk of having their first or second stroke? You can help the person in your care avoid a stroke.

Contributing Health Issues

The usual culprits that can lead to stroke are:

  • Poor diet 
  • Lack of exercise
  • Low potassium
  • High sodium
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine
  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • and of course, stress.

Signs of Stroke

If you observe any of these changes in the person in your care, call 9-1-1 immediately:

  • Numbness in face
  • Confusion in speech and understanding
  • Difficulty seeing
  • Dizziness, loss of balance, uncoordinated walking
  • Severe headache

First Things First

  • Schedule an annual physical for the person in your care, and work with his or her doctor to ensure appropriate medications are prescribed.
  • Review your medications list with your pharmacist to establish a plan for administering all medications at different times of day to keep the person in your care on an even keel and avoid spikes and drops in blood pressure, insulin, sodium and potassium levels.
  • Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption.
  • Monitor blood pressure throughout the day.
  • If possible, go outside for 20 minutes a day. If mobility is a problem, position the chair or bed that the person in your care uses next to a window that lets in a lot of sunlight. It will not be the same as going outside, but the natural light will help brighten their general mood.

Take Time Every Day

Joyce Simard has developed Namaste Care™, a program she designed for people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, but the program benefits home bound people who do not have dementia and who are not at the end of their lives.

Among other things, Simard recommends taking time out every day to spend quality time together while stimulating the senses. Seasonal aroma therapy and soft music set the scene to help decrease stress. Hydration (popsicles in summer; warm tea in winter) is an important component of the program.

Incorporated in the Namaste Care™ program is the use of touch therapy (massage). You don’t need a massage table and you don’t have to be a certified masseuse to help the person in your care lower their stress. The mere act of touching them is enough.

Take Care of Yourself 

As a caregiver, you may feel stressed as well. Performing The Namaste Care™ program every day for the person in your care will also help you relax and reduce your own stress levels.

What other changes can you make in your routine to help yourself and the person in your care avoid strokes?

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: May 20, 2015

Osteoporosis and You

Caregivers, May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month. How aware are you about this serious condition? Did you know that Osteoporosis is something you should be worried about for the person in your care and for yourself?

Caregivers, May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month. How aware are you about this serious condition? Did you know that Osteoporosis is something you should be worried about for the person in your care and for yourself?

What Exactly Is Osteoporosis?

In a nutshell, osteoporosis is a disease that can weaken your bones, making them so frail that a fall – or in worse cases, sneezing – can cause breakage. Bone density naturally begins to decrease once we reach our growth peak in our twenties, and as we all age, the risk for Osteoporosis increases. Post-menopausal women are at greatest jeopardy for developing Osteoporosis due to changes in hormones.

Is Osteoporosis Curable?

There is no cure for Osteoporosis.

Is Osteoporosis Avoidable?

The answer is: not necessarily. Perhaps the true answer is that we can’t always fight nature’s course, but we can certainly do our best to avoid Osteoporosis by not helping it along.

What Steps Should We Take to Decrease the Risk of Osteoporosis?

Short of finding the Fountain of Youth, there are many factors to consider in keeping our bones healthy. Among them are, of course:

  • Diet (rich in calcium AND: magnesium, boron, copper, zinc, vitamins A, C, D and K and essential fatty acids; lacking in: refined sugars, grains, trans fats).
  • Weight-bearing and balancing exercises (at least three times a week).
  • Practicing a wholesome lifestyle (avoid: red meats, alcohol, and smoking; partake in outdoor activities) and maintaining mindfulness in all we do.
  • Maintaining balance health through regular Ophthalmologist and Audiologist checkups.

What Effect do Medications Have on Osteoporosis?

  • The FDA has approved several medications to treat or prevent Osteoporosis. Your doctor can help you determine which medicine should be prescribed.
  • Cancer-fighting medications can have side effects that negatively impact bone density. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see whether an addition medication should be taken to counter-act that side effect.

How Can Caregivers Help Someone With Osteoporosis?

  • Start by talking to the doctor about the condition to determine whether medication will help.
  • Prepare foods rich in vitamins and minerals that assist with good bone health.
  • Do your best to get the person in your care moving around. If you need to be the person who performs the exercises because the person in your care is not mobile, contact a physical therapist to learn the tricks of the trade.
  • In all that you do, make small, consistent and slow movements to avoid bumping into furniture and/or falls.

Ø  Visit these websites for more information:  National Osteoporosis Foundation, Mayo Clinic.

             Are you living with Osteoporosis? Share your thoughts and practices with us!

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: March 11, 2015

The Balancing Act of Caregiving - Obtaining Physical Balance

The ability to balance is something that most of us learn as toddlers, and therefore, we take it for granted. Many times loss of balance occurs very subtly over time and we don’t notice changes. Diminished balance ability can cause great injury. Take some time to observe how well you and the person in your care are physically able to balance and make adjustments where necessary.

Caregivers, in last week's blog, we provided tips to help you maintain a work-life balance. This week, we’re spotlighting the importance of physical balance for both you and for the person in your care.

The ability to balance is something that most of us learn as toddlers, and therefore, we take it for granted. Many times loss of balance occurs very subtly over time and we don’t notice changes. Diminished balance ability can cause great injury. 

Take some time to observe how well you and the person in your care are physically able to balance and make adjustments where necessary.  

Medical
• Rule out any medical problems including: sinus, ear or tooth infection; allergies; and vision conditions. 
• Check with your pharmacist about whether dizziness is a side effect of any prescribed medications.

Exercise
Overcoming any of these medical problems is not enough to maintain physical balance. As a caregiver, you need to be on your game with regard to your strength, especially if you assist the person in your care when transferring from bed to chair or with toileting. The best way to keep up your strength is through proper and consistent exercise.

• Schedule your workout at least five days per week.
• Include upper and lower body exercises.
• Schedule exercise sessions for the person in your care as well. If he or she is able to attend senior exercise classes, try not to miss any of them. If he or she is homebound, visit a class that is held at your local community center or senior center and speak with the instructor about coming to your home to get you both started on a program.

Prevent Falls
When assisting the person in your care for transferring from one place to another, you can decrease the chances of one or both of you losing balance. Stop and think first about what the transfer entails: 

• Do not allow the person in your care to hold onto your neck.
• Clear a path from Point A to Point B so that you aren’t struggling to get around obstacles.
• Have everything you will need at Point B before you begin the transfer.
• Be sure necessary doors are already open.
• Move the wheelchair or walker closer to you.
• Position yourself on solid ground.
• Slow down – work at the pace of the person in your care.

If you don’t need to assist with transfers:

• Place the walker directly in front of the person in your care so that when you leave the room the walker is easily accessible.

If you monitor changes in balance, work toward staying in shape and plan ahead, you will be taking great strides to avoid unnecessary injury.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: February 25, 2015

Caregivers - Are you sleeping?

National Sleep Awareness Week is March 2-8, 2015. As a caregiver, you have twice the responsibility to make sure that you and the person in your care are getting a good night’s rest – every night.

National Sleep Awareness Week is March 2-8, 2015. As a caregiver, you have twice the responsibility to make sure that you and the person in your care are getting a good night’s rest – every night.

If you find that the person in your care is waking up and disturbing your sleep, take some steps to resolve the problem.

First, rule out medical causes, including:

  • Are there side effects from medications that might be contributing to sleeplessness?
  • Does the person in your care suffer from sleep apnea?
  • Discuss with your doctor what you can do to help correct the problem.
  • Does the person in your care have Alzheimer’s or other dementia?
  • Does he or she display sundowning behaviors (confusion/agitation at the end of the day and into the night?

The Mayo Clinic has some suggestions on how to help you and the person in your care get through the agitated time of day.

Next, make yourself aware of what’s going on with the person in your care. Start a diary and write down your observations. Experiment with different ways to resolve these problems:

  • Are there changes in diet, food intake or fluids?
  • Can you revert to serving foods and liquids that weren’t interfering before?
  • Are you witnessing more frequent and/or long afternoon naps?
  • Can you distract the person in your care from nodding off in the afternoon, or wake them up after 20 minutes?
  • Has the sun been hiding behind the clouds for days on end?
  • Will brightening the house with lots of light counteract the dreariness outside?
  • Have the colder weather and shorter days prevented both of you from getting exercise?
  • Are you able to dance around the house or do chair exercises inside?
  • Was there a disruption to his or her normal, daily routine?
  • Did you schedule back-to-back doctor appointments or company visitations? If so, spread them out in the future, and hold firm to time and length of company visits.

Lastly, inspect pillows and mattresses.

  • Is it time to shop for new ones?

It’s about you, too! The person in your care may not be the only reason you’re losing sleep. Ask yourself the same questions about what’s going on with your sleeplessness and take steps to eliminate triggers.

Sleep Awareness Week is all about sleeping well. Are you sleeping?

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: January 14, 2015

Have you thought about preventing hypothermia in the home?

It’s hard to believe, but a person can suffer from hypothermia without leaving the house. Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can make it. If the person in your care is chronically ill, has diabetes or is elderly, they may be at risk for suffering hypothermia.

It’s hard to believe, but a person can suffer from hypothermia without leaving the house.  Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can make it.

If the person in your care is chronically ill, has diabetes or is elderly, they may be at risk for suffering hypothermia.

Caregivers, before you partake in the battle of the thermostat between you and the person in your care, here are some points to ponder about the dangers of hypothermia and how to prevent it.

Hypothermia Symptoms

  • Difficulty walking
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech/trouble speaking
  • Shivering
  • Weak pulse
  • Increased heart rate

Hypothermia Causes

  • Diabetes – diabetics are often unable to warm their body’s core.
  • Medications that lower body temperature – including anti-inflammatory meds, OTCs and cold/flu remedies.
  • Dehydration – a dehydrated person can become chilled very quickly and take longer to recover body temperature.
  • Poor circulation – in hands and feet tend to send “cold” blood into one’s core thereby lowering body temperature.
  • Poor nutrition and inactivity – obvious culprits in a lot of what ails all of us.

Hypothermia Prevention – Your environment

  • Set heat at 68-70°F.  Anything above will cause you, the caregiver, to become overheated.
  • Block drafts – cracks and gaps seem to be a magnet for cold air. Inspect windows and door jams and clog openings to keep the cold air outside where it belongs.
  • Stay away from windows – before sunset, move your loved one away from the window. A change of scenery will also work wonders to break the monotony of being inside all day.

Hypothermia Prevention – Dress for success  

  • One heavy sweater or blanket won’t do the trick. Dress the person in your care in many thin, loose layers that will trap heat. 
  • Slippers alone are not enough – use socks as well (be sure they are loose fitting around the ankles to avoid circulation being cut off).
  • Use of gloves, a scarf and a cap will ensure that body heat has no place to escape.

Hypothermia Prevention – Warm from the inside out

  • Serve fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants (tomatoes, blueberries, cherries, squash, and bell peppers).
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Consume lots of fluids. Here’s the link to our blog about staying hydrated in winter.
  • Spice it up – add warming spices and herbs to food that help with circulation. Basil, ginger, turmeric, garlic, cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne are among the most popular.

Hypothermia Prevention – Increase circulation

  • Massage the hands and feet of the person in your care a couple of times a day to get circulation going. Make it a special treat – use familiar lotions that bring back loving memories.
  • Exercise – body movement of any kind exerts energy and raises one’s body temperature. Help the person in your care by encouraging him or her to stand up and move about a few times a day. Transferring from bed to wheelchair also causes an exertion of energy (on your part and on the part of the person in your care). Exercising the arms legs, hands, neck, etc., of a person who is confined to bed will also warm their body.
  • Incorporating hypothermia prevention as part of your daily routine will result in a win-win situation for you and the person in your care when it comes to the battle of the thermostat.
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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: October 15, 2014

Eeek! All those meds!

When you’re a caregiver, keeping track of medications can be confusing and difficult, but it is important to avoid medical mishaps and to make sure the person in your care is getting all of the desired results from taking prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Here are some useful tips on how to manage medications.

When you’re a caregiver, keeping track of medications can be confusing and difficult, but it is important to avoid medical mishaps and to make sure the person in your care is getting all of the desired results from taking prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Here are some useful tips on how to manage medications.

Understand the purpose of medications.

The person in your care might be seeing more than one doctor to treat different ailments. At each doctor visit, you should ask why medications are prescribed and let each specialist know about meds that are prescribed by other doctors. Any time a doctor prescribes a medication, ask whether it’s new or replacing an existing one. Be sure to tell each doctor about all of the medications that are currently prescribed.

Get to know your pharmacist.

According to a December 2103 study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University, “patients are more likely to take [medications for chronic illnesses] when they meet monthly with pharmacists to coordinate medication schedules and treatments.”

Because your pharmacist is constantly updated about medicines and maintains a record of all medications and allergies (both food and medicine) for the person in your care, he or she has a broader understanding of how the meds work together or in conflict with each other.

Ask your pharmacist to explain the purpose for each medication (treatment for heart, lungs, kidneys, blood pressure, anxiety, etc.) and explain the best time of day to administer each medication. Some meds should be taken only at bed time. Some meds should be taken with food, or certain foods should be avoided when taking them. Some meds have ingredients or serve secondary purposes and should not be taken at the same time as other meds. Some meds might be prescribed to counteract side effects of other meds – and you’ll want to know which meds should be discontinued at the same time.

With your pharmacist’s help, you can create a chart to make it easier to sort and administer meds to help keep the person in your care on an even keel every day. Together you can update the chart whenever there are changes in prescriptions.

Speak to your pharmacist often and add him or her to your list of very important people in your circle – go ahead and consider your pharmacist your new best friend!

Pill Dispensers

With so many meds to be administered each day in between all of your other caregiver duties, using a pill dispenser can help you remember whether you gave them at the proper time of day and ensure that you don’t forget any of them.

Pill dispensers come in all different shapes and sizes, and some even have locks and alarms on them which you can outright buy or rent on a monthly basis (medminder.com; epill.com). Whatever type of pill dispenser you choose be sure you’re comfortable with how it works.

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