As patients, we are often zipped into and out of doctors’ offices so fast that it’s easy to lose track of what the diagnosis was, what explanations were given and any prescriptions the provider wrote for us. For elderly patients who have begun to get a little forgetful or have poor memory, this experience is even more challenging than it is for younger patients with intact memories. Consequently, it’s very important to maximize the time elderly patients have with their doctors in order to better understand what was said, what medications were prescribed and what they were for, as well as, any potentially significant side effects. Before the appointment, having a list of questions written up about any new symptoms (or changes in old symptoms) and current or new prescriptions can be a big help. If you need or your loved one needs to know more about the medications that have been prescribed, take this suggested list along with you to the next doctor’s appointment:
What is the name of each medication? (Make sure to get the proper spelling, as many medications can have very similar sounding names and spellings.)
Why should it be taken or what is it for?
How often should it be taken and for how long?
What foods or other medications should be avoided while taking this medication?
Should this medication be taken with meals?
What should be done if a dose is missed?
What are common side effects?
Taking medications the right way is extremely important (and sometimes critical) in ensuring patients regain their health, stay healthy and reduce possible hospital re-admissions due to medication errors (taking the wrong dose or wrong medication). Getting answers to these important questions will help you and your loved ones have a better understanding of the prescriptions, what they are for and how to properly take them.
To get further information on how in-home care can help you or your loved ones safely and effectively manage medication schedules, contact us online or give us a call at 208-777-0308 if you’re calling from the Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene or Hayden areas; 208-263-7889 in the Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry or Priest River areas; or 208-784-1505 if your calling from the Kellogg, Pinehurst or Wallace areas. We have caring and trained caregivers throughout northern Idaho ready to help you or your loved ones with this challenging issue.