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Medication Management

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Drug Dispensing and the Caregiver
By M. Simon

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There are also options to consider if the condition of the person you are caring for begins to deteriorate. For example, if problems  develop with his or her ability to swallow, there may be some pills that can be changed to a liquid or even given through a small butterfly needle in the skin. Some newer medications are actually a combination of two or three different drugs and using them could decrease the total number of pills consumed daily.

Another aspect to consider, especially if his or her condition is worsening, is whether they really require all those medications. If grandmother, who is well into her ninth decade, is truly failing, does she really need that cholesterol pill or that Alzheimer’s drug? Maybe it’s time to have a family discussion with the physician and ask the question, “Have we reached the point where we are treating the disease instead of the patient?” One of the benefits of modern medicine is that we have so many wonderful drugs to combat the detrimental aspects of aging and disease. However, just because these drugs now exist doesn’t always mean it’s in the best interest of the client to use them.

The use of medicines is one aspect of caregiving that will not disappear in the foreseeable future. It is a complicated and precise job that requires concentration and adherence to a rigorous schedule. The aforementioned tips are meant to simplify this task and make life that much easier for the caregiver in your family.

M. Simon is a practicing family physician in eastern Canada. He has worked extensively in mental health, geriatrics and palliative care in both the hospital setting and in the community. His writing credits include fiction and nonfiction works with the most recent nonfiction articles appearing in The Medical Post, The Physician’s Chronicle, Physician’s Review and Stitches Magazine.


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