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Medication management involves monitoring all medications a patient takes ensuring that the correct dosages are taken at the proper times and with food or liquids. It is important to watch patients for side effects from certain medications or dangerous drug interactions from medication combinations.
How to Improve Medication Management Medication management involves monitoring all medications a patient takes ensuring that the correct dosages are taken at the proper times and with food or liquids. It is important to watch patients for side effects from certain medications or dangerous drug interactions from medication combinations. Step #1: Keep Updated Records There is little more important in the management of medications than keeping accurate and up-to-date records of patient medications. As a patient or caretaker of a patient, it is vital that all physicians and pharmacies are informed of any new medications or changes in dosages so that medical and pharmacy records may be adjusted accordingly. Some physician’s offices, hospitals and pharmacies have helpful software programs that issue warnings when conflicting drugs are prescribed that may cause interactions, or when patients are inadvertently prescribed medications to which they have allergies. Step #2: Monitor Medications It is vital that a family member or hired medication management consultant monitors a patient’s medication when that patient is no longer mentally able to handle their own medication schedules. Many patients use pill cases that have labels for certain days and times in order to help keep their medications straight. Missing medications, taking them at the wrong time or without food may cause dangerous complications that may prove harmful to patients. Equally harmful are side effects from medications. It is crucial that physicians are alerted any time a patient shows signs of adverse reactions to prescribed medications. Step #3: Consult Pharmacists Pharmacists are excellent resources for information on proper medication management for patients. They may explain potential side effects, how and when medications should be taken and whether or not driving is safe after taking the medication. Pharmacists may also explain how to store medications, what to do if a dose is missed and what other medications or herbal supplements should be avoided. Step #4: Verify Medications upon Each Hospital Admission Every time a patient is admitted to the hospital, it is important for staff to review medication records and note any changes that have been made to the patient’s regimen. In the event the patient is unable to recall medication information, a family member should be able to confirm medications with hospital staff. Whether kept electronically or in physical medical charts, medication changes should be updated immediately during each inpatient hospital stay. Step #5: Barcoded Wristbands for Inpatients Barcoded wristbands have proven to be one of the most effective forms of medication management in hospital settings. The barcodes typically contain the patient’s full name, date of birth, medical record number, type of medication and dosage. By scanning the barcode, physicians and nurses in a hospital can confirm the patient’s identity and verify that they are administering the correct medication and dosage at the right time and in the right way. According to the Administration on Aging, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has conducted studies which have concluded that drug interactions and adverse side effects occur more frequently among patients who take more than 5 different medications each day. As the nation’s population ages, management of medications will become increasingly important to older patients.
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