Non-medical home care often includes the service of “medication reminders” for people who have prescription medicines to take. It might seem odd that someone needs a reminder when there are pill boxes with the days of the week and more, but it’s an important part of well-being.
Some people are living with cognitive impairment due to some form of dementia or trauma and truly cannot remember to take a pill.
Medications often come with crucial instructions such as taking them at a certain time of day, with or without foods, taking them with or without certain liquids, keeping them at specific temperatures, and each of these needs to be adhered to in order for the medicine to work or minimize possible side effects.
Reminders vs. Assistance vs. Administration
Medication reminders are just that: someone telling you or a loved one that it is time to take a pill or a spoonful of medicine.
Skilled services might include “medication assistance” in which a nurse or other appropriately-trained person gives someone their medicine; this might include placing a pill on their tongue when they are unable to do so for themselves.
“Medication administration” begins with opening the container, therefore unlicensed caregivers in the home cannot assist to this extent.
Safety & Medication Reminders
According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), between 2011-2014, “the percent of person using at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days” was 48.9%. A Mayo Clinic study found that 20% of Americans are on five or more medications. Other statistics show 8 out of 10 older Americans take at least one medication per day to help manage a chronic illness.
When any medication is not taken or taken incorrectly, there can be a lack of improved health or harmful side effects. After a hospital discharge, there are often important medications to take—even for the short-term—that can mean the difference between healing at home and a readmittance.
When someone is routinely available to remind a person to take their medicine, it can be part of keeping them safe at home.