Effective Medication Management Tools Available to Caregivers

Caregivers play a vital role in the United States. There are 34.2 million Americans who have provided unpaid support to an adult over 50 in the past year, according to the National Alliance of Caregiving.

When advancing dementia rendered 95-year-old Peter Donaldson unable to stay alone in his home any longer, his daughter, Tracey, moved him to her own home to provide a greater level of personalized care. Amid the COVID pandemic, when patients in long-term care facilities were significantly impacted by the virus, she felt this was the best option for him.

As a person with dementia, it was important to Peter to have the comfort and safety of familiar faces around him for his well-being. In a long-term care home, he would have to be separated from his beloved dog and constant companion, Missy. “You could almost gauge the kind of day he was having by how he reacted to the dog,” Tracey recalled.

As a mother of two, who also worked full time as an educator, she led a busy life with a range of responsibilities. Although she had help from her husband, they were unable to provide the round-the-clock care needed for her father as his dementia worsened and he became more prone to wandering at night. and attempt to leave their home. She used personal support workers to protect her health and well-being.

Peace of Mind with Medication Adherence Packaging

With various caregivers in the mix, it gave Tracey the peace of mind that everyone knew if her father had taken all of his prescribed medications, thanks to the blister cards – a kind of medication adherence packaging that supplied a week of its pills at a time, sorted into individual sealed blister packs for day and night use. With just a glance, they could see if the day’s medications had been dispensed, including those for high blood pressure and sleep, as well as vitamins and supplements recommended by her doctor.

“The blister cards have made a huge difference for us in so many ways,” she says. “They were great. The pharmacy sent them home, so we didn’t have to coordinate a time when we could pick them up. This allowed us to take some of the pressure off. »

In the 17 months that Tracey provided care for her father at his home, he visited the emergency room by ambulance six times. “One of the first things the paramedics asked us was what medications he was taking,” she recalls. “I was able to provide them with the blister pack where his medications and the doses were indicated. All current information was at our fingertips and saved us valuable time in a crisis situation.

Caregivers struggle with medication management

Ordering medications and ensuring they are taken correctly is a common responsibility for caregivers. As noted in Families caring for an aging America (published on the National Library of Medicine website), 65% of caregivers of adults with high needs help with medication management.

It is a task that many caregivers find daunting and stressful. A AARP Public Policy Report The Institute looked at family caregivers providing spousal care and found that 73% of spouses said medication management was one of the two most difficult medical/nursing tasks they perform on a daily basis. It is a task that continues to be a significant stressor for caregivers and contributes to role overload. Stress and fatigue also have a negative effect on their well-being.

“It gave Tracey peace of mind knowing that her dad had taken all of his prescribed medication, thanks to blister cards – a kind of medication adherence packaging that supplied a week’s worth of his pills at a time. “

The AARP report also asked family caregivers (spouse and non-spouse) who prepared them to manage medications. About 60% said they learned to do the task largely on their own. The report concluded that family carers had a “striking lack of preparation to handle these difficult tasks”.

This underscores the need for additional resources for caregivers, including turning to their pharmacy for solutions to medication adherence and management issues. Talk to your pharmacist to learn more about the tools available to help caregivers, including medication adherence packs and blister packs.

Made with the support of Jones Healthcare Group.

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