Take Thy Pill
Take Thy Pill
My great grandmother used to have a sign in her kitchen emblazoned with “Take Thy Pill.” As she got older, the pills got more numerous. Our modern medical system is quick to cure what ails you with one of these little magical tablets, but I often wonder about how all of these chemicals work together (or don’t).
Did you know that almost a full 30% of hospitalizations of adults over the age of 65 are directly related to medication or non-adherence to medication? Twice the number of those killed in auto accidents each year will die from medication related issues. Approximately 40% of folks in our nursing homes are enter the facility because they are unable to safely self medicate in their own home.
As my daughter has her medication administration clinical check off tomorrow at nursing school, I think of my Granny and her numerous pills. As nurses we are to follow the six (some say 8 ) rights of medication administration:
- Right Medication
- Right Route
- Right Time
- Right Patient
- Right Dose
- Right Documentation
Each and every time we give a medication, we go through this list. It does not matter if we have been assigned to the patient for an hour, a day, or a week, we still go through this list. How many of us at home are so used to taking the same medication, that we never give it a second thought? I often take my morning medication and later second guess myself wondering if I have already taken my medication or if I still need to take it. Just the other day, my cousin accidentally took a pill meant for her dog! As she was mindlessly going about her day, she placed the pill in her hand while she was getting herself a drink and the next thing you know she had popped it into her mouth.
As we age and our cognitive faculties begin to decline this becomes more and more dangerous, particularly when considering the number of cardiac medications that many of our seniors are prescribed. If you take medication or have loved ones that do, be mindful of them. If you don’t know what they are for, ASK! Speak up at your physician’s appointment. Talk to your pharmacist. Know the brand and generic names of your medication and what each is used for. For those with elderly patients who are having difficulty in managing their medications, consider one of the many options for help such as reminder alarms, medication pill boxes, or even one of the elaborate dispensing devices like those from Phillips.
Have you ever taken your medication twice in the same day accidentally? Have you ever taken your pets medication? Ever had a loved one admitted to the hospital due to a medication error or been the victim of a medication error while in the hospital? (I have, but that is a story for another day.) Let me know about it. What happened? What side effects did you suffer? Did it change the way you handle medications now?
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