Medication management for older Australians can be challenging due to a lot of different factors.
These factors include having a range of different conditions with different medications, holding onto older medications, multiple medicines with conflicting side effects and more.
That’s why it’s important to know the risks of not effectively looking after your medication management.
What are the risks of ineffective medication management?
The consequences of holding onto medications can be severe, and they may pose a potential safety hazard. It is estimated that over one million Australians over the age of 70 are taking at least one medication a day which puts emphasis on the importance of medication management.
Holding on to medication over a period of time, may lead to the following but not limited to:
- Inappropriate use of drugs.
- Self-discontinuation of drugs.
- Use of expired or deteriorated drugs.
- Random use of non-documentary medications at the same time.
- Unreasonable placement of drugs.
- Ignoring adverse reactions during cure.
- Not paying attention to blood pressure and blood sugar during medication.
How can I assist an older person with medication management?
In order to manage medication storage at home, guidelines must first be developed. It is important to keep an eye out for expired plasters or syrups in an older person’s drawer as they tend to hold on to them.
Older Australians are reluctant to discard expired medicines despite the dangers associated with their use. Habits such as this cause hidden dangers, therefore it is important to ensure that there is a suitable and secure expiration date and storage environment.
When managing medication storage at home, you could consider the following:
1. Storage environment:
Keep the medicine cabinet in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. If there is an older adult with cognitive impairment at home, the medicine cabinet shouldn’t be placed in a place where they can get it.
2. Classified storage of medicines:
It is important to store oral medicines, external medicines, and injection medicines separately. Make sure to keep the original label of the drug, indicating the drug name, usage, dosage, drug effect, contraindications, expiration date, etc.
3. Refrigeration of medication:
Drugs that need to be refrigerated should be placed in a special refrigerator to avoid mixing with food. You should check and record the temperature every day to ensure that the temperature is maintained at 2-8 degrees; distinguish the difference between refrigeration and freezing; do not put all drugs in the refrigerator; the fridge’s humidity is large and susceptible to moisture deterioration.
4. The principle of drug placement:
You should place the drugs in sequence according to the expiry date; regularly check the expiry date of the drugs in the medicine cabinet.
5. Medication expiry:
Some medicines have a specific storage period after opening, and the opening date and expiration time should be marked on the bottle on the opening day. The expiry date of medicines in different dosage forms after opening: Generally speaking, individually packaged tablets or granules can be used before the stated expiry date; bottled medicines can be used within half a year after opening.
6. Identifying improperly placed or expired drugs that have deteriorated:
Although some drugs are still within the validity period, there may be signs of deterioration such as spots, swelling, adhesion, cracks, and even discolouration on the surface. It is important to be aware of medicines that can no longer be used.
7. Seeking an expert opinion:
We recommend that you regularly communicate with your family physician and pharmacist to ensure the safety of your medication and obtain professional advice. For example, your doctor or pharmacist can discuss whether there are new or alternative medicines that can replace many of your medicines. This can effectively reduce the types of your treatments to reduce the risk of medication.
It is important to consider the impact of finger sensitivity on medication administration as finger sensitivity can affect older adults opening vials and removing medicines from packages.
The relative impact of drug management may occur in those with arthritis, Parkinson’s, and other chronic conditions. Research has found that fatigue can affect a person’s sensitivity to information and memory.
We suggest that there is a list of medicines, including the name of the medicine, dosage, and time limit for use. Also, make sure you can always refer to this medicine list.
At Let’s Get Care, we offer a range of services for Home Care Package and you could even request assistance with medication prompting if in line with your Care Plan. If you would like to learn more, please reach out to your care manager or if you do not have a home care package, feel free to learn more from our expert team on 1300 497 442.