Common ailments

Medicine management

My elderly mother has been taking lots of pills for quite some time. Recently, however, she has had trouble remembering when to take which pills and I’m not sure that she still needs to be taking them all. What’s the best way of helping her manage her medication better?

Managing a lot of different medicines at home can be tricky for anyone. However, there are ways of making the job a little easier for your mother.

Your mother’s GP can do what is known as a medication review. This involves them looking into whether or not your mother’s different medicines are working well alongside each other as well as whether she even needs to continue taking some of those pills.

Your mother’s community pharmacist can undertake a medicines check-up; this is called a Medicines Use Review. It involves your mother talking to the pharmacist about how she takes and uses her medicines, including any she buys over the counter or at a supermarket, such as vitamins or painkillers. The pharmacist can help your mother by making suggestions to simplify when she takes her medicines, such as encouraging her to centre on events such as breakfast, lunch, dinner or bedtime as this may be easier than trying to maintain an elaborate time schedule.

There are also devices and aids that can be purchased to help people remember to take their medicines and the pharmacist can do an assessment to see which of these may help. These include reminder charts and pill organisers, such as a Dosette box. This is a small container with separate compartments for each day of the week and different times of day that can be filled with medication weekly. This can help some patients to remember to take the right pills at the right time.

It is a good idea to ask the pharmacist for some advice about moving medicines into a pill organiser.


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