Did you know that 3 out of 4 people do NOT take their medications as directed? Or that 1 out of 3 people never fill their prescriptions and over 125,000 people die every year due to not taking their medications as directed? When medications are not taken as directed, this is called non-adherence.
This costs the U.S. $290 billion per year and a third of medication-related hospital admissions are linked to poor adherence. Medication non-adherence is a major public health issue.
As caregivers, you can make a difference! Elderly patients with caregivers are 40% less likely to be non-adherent compared to those without having a caregiver.
If your care recipient doesn’t take their medications as directed, they’re putting their health and future at risk. Medication adherence means fewer doctor visits, fewer emergency room visits, better quality of life, and a longer and healthier life for your care recipient. Talk to their doctor or pharmacist to make sure you understand how their medications can help improve their health.
Need help starting a conversation? Here are some questions to ask your care recipient’s doctor or pharmacist:
- What is the medicine called and what does it do?
- How and when should it be taken? And for how long?
- What if a dose is missed?
- Are there any side effects?
- Is it safe to take it with other medicine or vitamins?
- Can he/she stop taking it if he/she feels better?
Is your care recipient having difficulty staying adherent to their medications? Here are some tips to improve medication adherence:
- Develop a schedule or system that fits their normal routine/pair medication with an activity
- Use daily or weekly pill boxes
- Use an alarm
- Post reminder notes
- Ask the pharmacy about bubble packaging
- Use delivery/mail order systems
- Ask to change to a more tolerable medication if there are side effects
- One trip refills i.e. syncing medications to one pick up date
- Asking for a 90 day supply instead of 30
- Sign up for automatic refills and refill reminder phone calls/texts
- The Script Your Future website provides tools and resources to help you take your medicine—like text message reminders
Help your care recipient be in control of their health and script THEIR future! Help them take the pledge today to take their meds!
- Take the pledge online: http://www.scriptyourfuture.org/take-the-pledge/
- Sign up for text message reminders: http://www.scriptyourfuture.org/get-medicine-reminder/