TOWNSEND — Chances are, every one of us has one of those moments. Confronted with a bottle of pills, perhaps vitamins or even prescription medicine, you wonder – “Did I take one this morning?”
As people age, the number of pills they take can increase. To make matters even more challenging, pills are taken at different times of day or days of the week.
Physical problems can make keeping track of dosages impossible.
Your local pharmacy can assist with medicine management, said Karen McNabb-Noon, fourth generation pharmacist at McNabb pharmacy.
For a monthly fee pharmacists will package prescription and non-prescription pills in easy to open and easy to identify packaging. Patients are still responsible for co-pays.
“Quite a few people in the home have us manage it,” Colin McNabb, business manager at the store said.
A patient might receive a strip of four pouches of pills to take each day. Each pouch lists the included medicine and what time it should be taken.
Another management system provides prepackaged blister pouches that a caregiver can open and hand to the patient.
Before a system is implemented, the pharmacy meets with the family and the patient.
“The patient usually wants to have some part in the decision,” McNabb-Noon said.
When nurses check on the patients who use prepackaged medicine, they can determine if the patient is complying with the medication regimen.
If the health care professionals find a problem “they call us,” McNabb-Noon said.
One customer was not taking all of his morning medications because there were too many to fit in the package. The problem was solved by providing two morning packages.
Another patient frequently forget that he had taken his pills and would take a second dose. McNabb’s tracked down a pill container that spins to the next dose and locks until it is time for the next round.
“It’s worked great with this guy,” McNabb-Noon said.
For people who forget entirely to take their medications, a different dispenser will sound an alarm until it is opened.
Medicine management is more than dispensing pills.
“We totally go and handle it. It’s a nice thing for the family member,” McNabb-Noon said.
“We will let the physician know if there’s a problem,” she said.
If a medicine is changed or added, the pharmacy will deliver, a cost included in the monthly fee. Emergency medications like antibiotics will usually be delivered the same day, McNabb said.
Every time a change occurs, the store generates a new medicine sheet, giving the patient and family an up to date listing of drugs.
Medicine management is a new part of pharmacy service that allows people to live in their homes longer, McNabb said.
“It’s peace of mind. Nothing leaves the store until it’s checked by a pharmacist,” he said.