After my young daughter had double hip surgery, she had been prescribed about 8 medications—from laxatives to vitamins to several pain management options. Pages of complex instructions from the discharge nurse detailed my new medication management responsibilities. Administer this liquid medicine one twice a day, every 12 hours. Take this pill once daily, but only give half a pill; take with food. Take this one every 6 hours for 4 days, then taper off to every 4 hours for 5 days. And on and on it went...
And of course, this wasn’t all I was doing: as her primary caregiver, I was still bathing and dressing her, feeding her, scheduling her therapy appointments, losing sleep due to middle-of-the-night pain medication rounds, and making sure she didn’t get out of her wheelchair or fall.
All caregivers will likely be responsible for medication management at some point in their caregiving experience. An April 2016 JAMA Internal Medicine article says that 87 percent of adults ages 62-85 and living at home take at least one prescription medication, while 36 percent take five or more.
Whether your loved one is taking one prescription or one dozen, medication management is a complex task—especially as most caregivers have little to no medical training and are already balancing a multitude of other complex tasks, like scheduling doctor’s appointments or planning for long term care.
It’s a nerve-wracking responsibility too: it’s one thing to miss a doctor’s appointment on account of your car being in the shop, or simply forgetting because it’s been a difficult week. But if you miss a dose of vital medication, or inadvertently administer something twice because you forgot you had already given it? The effects of such errors can have far more serious ramifications. This puts a tremendous amount of pressure on a caregiver’s already burdened shoulders.
As with so many caregiving challenges, reaching out for help—whether in the form of tech tools, tips, or additional care team members—is wise. And with GreatCall’s Urgent Care service, you actually get all of the above—tips, tools, and team members, no appointment or co-pay necessary. Have a prescription question at 1 in the morning, or can’t reach your primary physician to talk about a new medication? You can speak live with a registered nurse or board-certified doctor 24/7, and even get a prescription for common medications over the phone.
When paired with the Jitterburg Smart device, you’ll have all-hours access to a symptom checker and medical dictionary—right at your fingertips. Spanish translation service is also available. And if you have the Lively Mobile Medical Alert System, you can add the Urgent Care service to your monthly subscription. Learn more about all of our helpful caregiving apps, services, and devices here.
For more tech tools to help you manage your loved one’s medications more efficiently and safely, check out this post from GreatCall's caregiver resource library.