Taking medications as directed is part of any treatment plan and an important step toward a healthier life. However, for many children, older adults, or other loved ones with an illness, managing medications can be difficult.
When it comes to managing medications, there can be a lot of instructions to follow, schedules to keep, and side effects to monitor. That is why it’s important to keep track of your loved one’s medications and tell their doctor which medicines he or she is taking.
You are an important part of your loved one’s health care team. For someone with a chronic condition, not taking their medication as directed can lead to severe problems. Studies show that as many as half of people with a chronic condition don’t take their medication as prescribed.
Taking their medication is just part of a patient’s overall treatment plan. Your doctor should be monitoring how well the medication is working, which ensures the medicine is having the maximum benefit.
What can you do to help manage medications?
- Give your loved one’s health care team information about all the medicines, vitamins, herbs and dietary supplements he or she is taking.
- Tell the provider about any allergies to medications.
- Get the facts about the medication, including any side effects or interactions. Write down your questions or concerns before you talk to the doctor or pharmacist.
- Stay with the treatment plan and keep giving it for as long as prescribed, even if the person you are caring for feels better.
- Keep a record of all medications.
- Tell the doctor if your loved one has any side effects from the medication and before they discontinue taking it for any reason.
- Use the Community Checkup to see how the provider scores on managing medications for different conditions.
What should the doctor do?
- Talk to you about the medication and why it’s important to keep giving it for as long as it is prescribed.
- Explain potential side effects from the medication and what you should do if they occur.
- Work with you to develop a plan for administering the medication.
- Monitor the medication on a regular basis, to make sure that it’s working well.
- Prescribe generic medications when they are available and appropriate.