|Lewy Body Dementia Association, Inc.
|Managing Medicine and Supplements
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|Author:||Pat [ Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:52 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Managing Medicine and Supplements|
My husband, John, was diagnosed in 2007 with LBD. His neurologist, Dr. Daniel Kaufer, suggested that I share caregiver tips on this website and write a book on caregiving for LBD. This is my second entry of a small segment from the book I am writing. Please add any ideas you may have to this list and let me know what has worked for you, so I can include it.
Thank you for being a positive part of my journey just by reading this.
Management of medicines is a huge part of good caregiving. The right medicine taken at the right time can make a big difference in the quality of the day for both John and me. The wrong medicine or medicine taken at the wrong time can create a small disaster.
Being alert to new studies or developments in pharmaceuticals that address Johnâs disease has been an ongoing passion of mine. There is always the search for something that will help him. When I find anything of interest, I bring that information to the attention of either Johnâs primary care doctor or his neurologist. It has often resulted in significant improvements of symptoms for him.
Pharmacists are also a big asset in this quest to not only find good options, but especially in how to combine medicines and time their administration during the day to optimize their impact.
The internet has useful sites to help the caregiver find possible conflicts and bad interactions between multiple medicines and supplements. Once these are discovered, I take them to the pharmacist to confirm what I have found since they are a more reliable resource than the internet by itself.
Keeping charts to help with pill management is a time saver. Make a time each week to sort pills into the right sections of a pill box for that week. Choose a weekday so the pharmacy is open if you have run out of any medicine unexpectedly.
Another chart that is useful includes an actual picture (Lay the pill directly on the glass of the copier in a vertical line.) and description of each pill, so that spills of the pill box are less stressful. If John goes for a visit to his brotherâs house, spends several nights, but happens to drop the pill box, they can put it back together much more easily with a chart to guide them that has a picture and description of each pill. Using Excel on my computer, I made a morning and evening chart to simplify the process even more.
Here is a summary of tips that have helped me with medicine management.
1. Be in charge of the medicine as caregiver. This is not negotiable.
2. Make a chart for all medicines and supplements taken.
3. Keep the chart with prescription bottles in a container, like a large basket. Use the list as your guide to fill a pill box once each week. Have a pill box that fits your needs as to scheduling medications.
4. Use the chart when you visit doctors or to have a pharmacist check for any interaction problems. This is especially important if you use more than one pharmacy and/or have multiple doctors.
5. Use a copier machine and make another chart that includes a picture of the actual pills in the first column, then the name of pill in the second column, then a word description of pills that includes color, letters, or numbers on each pill. Take it with you on trips in case of spills.
6. Use one pharmacy if you can.
7. Ask your doctor to write a prescription for even non-prescription items that you cannot buy a monthâs supply of over the counter, such as Claritin D. This simplifies your schedule for dealing with meds.
8. Coordinate all prescriptions to be filled on the same day of the month. Ask your pharmacist to help you, if necessary. Most insurance companies have some flexibility in allowing you to fill prescriptions for a vacation or trip out of town. Use that option to move all meds to the same day. This will save you lots of transportation and wait time and will reduce stress from feeling that you are always going to the pharmacy.
9. Keep your eyes and ears open for new developments with current meds and new treatment options that could make a huge difference in your loved oneâs condition. Use the internet, then verify what you find there with your pharmacist and/or doctor. Pharmacists are tremendous resources.
10. Find a geriatric pharmacist in your area and make an appointment to discuss the full menu of meds for your loved one. He or she can make recommendations and even work with your doctor to minimize side effects or bad interactions. This is crucial if there is more than one doctor involved or multiple meds being used. It can make a big difference in daily outcomes if you take the time to do this.
11. Keep the LBDA card with your loved one at all times to alert medical personnel of dangerous side effects of certain drugs for the LBD patient.
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