While medications are a godsend to many seniors, they have the potential to be dangerous, both through side effects and misuse. NYC senior care agencies recommend keeping a medication list to keep the caregiver and senior organized. A list increases safety, and if an emergency occurs while a caregiver is not present, the list serves as an easy reference.
When you keep a medication chart, try to include at least six categories: name of the medicine, the condition it is helping with, dosage, date range, prescribing doctor or NP, and side effects. Below the chart, include information such as the senior’s blood type, allergies, pharmacy and its contact information, physician information, and insurance policy and number. The chart should also list who filled it out and that person’s contact number and relationship to the senior. It’s also a good idea to have a backup contact.
Vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products need to be included on the list. They have the potential to cause nasty interactions with various drugs. For example, ginkgo-biloba promotes even more blood thinning when a person is on warfarin.
Keep one copy of the list in a visible place such as on the refrigerator. This helps ensure it is found quickly in case of an emergency. If the senior has a health kit, keep a copy there as well.
Always bring a copy of the list to doctor visits. The list acts as a double check when a new medication is being considered or if a doctor is trying to figure out the cause of a new rash of side effects. A list ensures nothing is forgotten; don’t rely on your memory.
Naturally, updating the list is important every time a change occurs in NYC senior care. It may also be useful to add categories that show the form the medication is in (such as tablet), and considerations for taking it. For instance, a senior may struggle with swallowing certain medications and could benefit from them in liquid or capsule form.