Barry, age 81, takes 8 different prescription medications for conditions ranging from hypertension to pain management for arthritis. Some of the prescriptions he has taken for years, while others are relatively new to his pill regimen. While Barry has help from a home care aide a few days each week, he is often alone when he takes his medications and rarely reads the labels, paying attention only to the dosing he’s supposed to take. And a new study conducted by researchers at Michigan and Kansas State Universities found that seniors like Barry are not alone when it comes to how they take medications.
According to the study, published in PLoS One, 32 people were included in the study. While researchers note that this was a relatively small sample size, the results based on habits of prescription-takers by age were startling nonetheless. Of individuals age 50 and older in the study, half failed to read and heed warning labels regarding drug and food interactions and side effects. And it’s not far fetched to think that similar prescription-reading habits are the norm for millions of seniors living independently at home.
How Home Care Software Can Help
With age often comes treatment for ailments, leaving seniors with a wide range of prescription medications to manage. However, the assistance of a home care worker, paired with a robust home care software or home care system, like ClearCare can help ensure that seniors are paying attention to prescription labels.
For example, a home care system, such as ClearCare, is capable of storing a detailed list of prescription medications as well as noting important interactions. By making these notes available to caregivers in the field via tablets with access to client assessments in a home care software or home care system, care providers can help seniors monitor what they take. Additionally, tasks in home care software and home care system telephony read outs can remind caregivers to ensure that seniors receive medication reminders. However, as the study showed, it is often the warnings that require a little extra attention. Home care workers can remind seniors to read warning labels and point out that certain medications may cause drowsiness, should not be taken with fruit juice, or provide cautionary attention for other important warnings.
Making the Most of Medications
Prescription medications are intended to help, not hurt, seniors. However, when taken without proper attention to warning labels, harmful interactions or side effects can have serious consequences resulting in reduced effectiveness, illness or even death. With proper attention encouraged to warning labels, and the help of a home care aide armed with a robust home care system or home care software, like that available from ClearCare, seniors and their loved ones can ensure that medications are used properly.
All individuals mentioned in this blog are fictional.