Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Philadelphia

Benefits of Homecare and Medication Safety

You have just been discharged from a hospital, rehab, or feel as though you are spending your "golden years" at the doctor's office and come home with additional prescriptions. You ask yourself, "What is this medication for? How am I going to take all these pills in one day?" You have just become part of the largest concern that may contribute to medication errors called poly-pharmacy. Poly-pharmacy is defined as the use of 5 or more medications for one patient. The more medications, the more risk for medication errors. Other reasons for errors are:

Home care services can be of great help. Many times on the initial visit, home care nurses spend a great deal of time organizing patients' medications, checking expiration dates, providing education to the caregiver/patient, and making phone calls to one or several physicians to help decrease the confusion of multiple medications. Additional visits can be made by the nurse to:

Homecare nurses are an excellent resource for creative ideas that can be used to keep patients independent and safe in their homes. Studies have shown that between 40-75% of the older population don't take their medications at the right time or in the right amount. Examples of strategies to take medication easier are:

Tips to avoid drug interactions

Physical signs that may attribute to drug reaction:

Mixing food and drugs

Some foods inhibit the effectiveness of some medicines. Make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if any foods should be avoided

Grapefruit juice can increase the absorption of certain drugs.

Calcium (diary products) and antibiotics can decrease absorption causing the medication to be less effective.

Vitamin C and fruit juices can impair absorption of drug, causing the medication to be less effective.

Foods rich in vitamin K can reduce effectiveness of Coumadin (blood thinner) causing increased clotting. These foods include leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale.

Cranberry products may increase the effectiveness of Coumadin causing increase bleeding.

Fiber can bind certain drugs, decreasing concentrations causing the medication to be less effective.

Alcohol - use extreme caution when taking medication.

Stretching your prescription dollars

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