Medication management is the process of overseeing the medications prescribed for a patient to ensure they are taken properly for the most beneficial outcomes. The process includes initial and ongoing medication review to address:
- safety concerns
- adherence concerns
- avoidance/reduction of adverse drug events and interactions
- continual patient education (as well as their caregivers)
To ensure proper medication management, EQC Home Care has created a short list of 6 easy tips for improving the medication management process.
1. Communicate medication adherence at every visit
It is important to review every prescribed medication with the patient. Emphasize why the patient is taking it, reasons for missed refills or pills, and how to be consistent about taking medications regularly. If a patient is unable to understand this (ie. due to confusion or dementia), make sure a family member or a caregiver understands how to provide daily medication regimens and to manage medication pickups.
2. Patients must be continually educated about the most common medication mistakes
Medication management is only successful when patients are continually educated about the most common medication mistakes. This can include taking too much of a medication (even over-the-counter medications like Tylenol), mistaking one medication with another, when to take a medicine (ie. time of day, with/without food), and more. To achieve this, it is helpful to communicate these mistakes in person, as well as provide a handout to every patient and caregiver as a clear reference.
3. Review the Beers list
The Beers list is a list of medications that should be avoided or used with caution when prescribing medication for older patients. While prescriptions may be erroneously prescribed by physicians, checking the Beers list will ensure a patient is taking a medication that should be removed from his or her therapy.
4. Withdraw any unnecessary medications
In general, it is safer for patients to take the smallest number of medications as possible to decrease the chance of interactions and side effects
5. Look out for the prescription cascade
Prescription cascade is a situation that occurs when the side effects of medications are misdiagnosed as the symptoms of other health issues (instead of the medication itself). As part of medication management, caregivers must be aware of developing issues and investigate the causes to maintain the health of the patient to avoid adding to potential interactions and reducing quality-of-life.