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Medication Management

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Caregivers Providing Pain Management

by Jude Roberts, Staff Writer

(Page 2 of 3)

If it makes you nervous trying to figure out when to give a loved one medication, or deciding upon how much to give them, some of the following ideas may help you feel less overwhelmed and helpless: Educate yourself as to what pain management and/or palliative care is. Know the specific pain control plan for your loved one, and don't be afraid to ask the doctor or nurse for detailed information (remember to write everything down). Know which medicines are given around the clock, and which are given as needed (written on the prescription as "prn"). Give medication at regular times to keep enough medicine in the blood stream to keep the pain away. Give medication before pain has a chance to build up, keeping in mind that pain is harder to control if itís allowed to build to a severe level. Give pills during the night, or get on a pain control plan that does not require nighttime doses. Too much time between pills means that the amount of medicine keeps dropping and the level of pain increases. Do not stop pain medicine suddenly, since this will be a shock to the body and withdrawal symptoms may occur. Discontinuing any pain medication should be discussed with a doctor first; and when itís to be done, it must be done in a gradual, step-down method.

Some other things you can do to make it easier for you when administering medication is to: Set an alarm to remind you when medications are due. Use plastic medicine boxes with squares for each day of the week and slots for medicine times, allowing you to fill the box for an entire week at a time. Always call ahead to the pharmacy before trying to fill a prescription because some drug stores donít carry all pain medicines. Remember to always use the same pharmacy because the pharmacists will become familiar with and understand what the medication plan is and how it works; they may even have helpful suggestions for you on how to handle side effects. Remember to call the doctor for new prescriptions and refills before the last pain medicine is given, making sure that you have at least a three-day supply of pain medication at all times. If itís the end of a week, be sure that you have at least a 5-day supply before needing to refill. If youíre planning to be out of town, be certain to have a sufficient supply until you have returned home.


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