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Medication Safety

A Guide to Reducing Risk

Medications contain chemicals that cause changes in your body. It is essential to take them consistently and as prescribed. It is also important to be aware of adverse drug interactions, which is a leading cause of emergency hospitalizations.

Each year, according to the CDC, older adults (65 years or older) visit emergency departments almost 450,000 times each year, more than twice as often as younger persons.*

Patients and caregivers can reduce the risk of harm from medications by learning about simple medication safety.

Medication Safety

It is important to know the following:

  • What are the generic and brand names of your medications?
  • What is the purpose of each medication?
  • What are common side effects of your medications?
  • When should you expect to feel better?
  • Does this medication replace another that you may be taking?
  • What if you miss a dose?
  • Are there any foods you should avoid while taking your medication?

Other Important Tips:

  • Keep a written record of your medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Share this information with your doctors and pharmacist.
  • Discuss your drug allergies with your doctors and pharmacist.
  • Make sure you clearly understand the purpose of each of your medications and the instructions for taking them.
  • Take all of your medications exactly as directed.
  • Don’t take medications prescribed for someone else.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before crushing or splitting your medications.
  • Make taking your medications part of your regular routine. For instance, take your medications after you brush your teeth every morning.
  • Use a pill box or organizer marked with days of the week and times of day. This will help you take your medications correctly.
  • Make sure to fill your prescriptions before they run out so you don’t miss even a day.
  • Check the expiration dates on your medication bottles. Dispose of any that have expired.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have any problems with your medications.
  • Even if your symptoms improve, don’t stop taking your prescribed medications without consulting your doctor.
  • Don’t drink alcohol while taking medications without consulting your doctor.

Help With Medication Costs

If you can’t afford your medications, let your doctor know. There may be another drug that costs less or an assistance program through the drug company.

About Our Care

Our home health helps patients manage their medications and take prescriptions at the right time and in the right amounts.

We also look for dangerous drug interactions and consult with your doctor and pharmacist to keep your recovery on track and keep you safe.

As part of our home health services, we help patients manage their medications.

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