Many medicines considerably improve the quality of life of older people, but unfortunately older people are more susceptible to their adverse effects than younger adults. Being on multiple medications (prescribed and those bought from the chemist or health food store)…
Many medicines considerably improve the quality of life of older people, but unfortunately older people are more susceptible to their adverse effects than younger adults.
Being on multiple medications (prescribed and those bought from the chemist or health food store) increases the risk of errors (by patients and doctors) and drug interactions. Some medications, such as sleeping tablets, cause more problems than others.
Unfortunately a significant number of acute (unplanned) hospitalisations occur because of medication problems experienced by older people. Also older patients often become sicker in hospital because of medication problems.
Our practice works hard not only to uncover any medication problems, but also to prevent them.
This is a lot harder than most people would imagine! For example, do not assume all your health care professionals have an up-to-date list of what you are taking - as you know doctors other than your GP often prescribe medications. Medication regimes are often changed in hospital and unfortunately mix-ups occur when older people change their GPs or chemists.
Extreme care also needs to be taken with regard to medication mix-ups when older people move into a residential aged care facility especially if it is only for a short ‘holiday’.
Many of you will be advised by this practice to use a Webster (blister) pack type system. This is one of the safest system we know, for all of us. Do not rely on taking along a piece of paper with a list of medications written on it when you visit the doctor (any doctor), have to go to hospital or are going to a hostel or nursing home. Take all your medicines with you (even the ones bought over the counter), or better still, get a Webster pack and take that.
The risk to older people’s health and wellbeing is such that we cannot emphasise just how important good medication management is. If we haven’t told you to get a Webster pack, get one anyway and remind us that we should have told you about this system.
Always bring all your medicines to all our appointments - do not assume we know something has changed since we last saw you or that you will remember to tell us. Better still, bring that Webster pack!
We have a sample Webster pack at this practice and if we haven’t shown you what one looks like, ask to see it.
If you are from a residential aged care facility, tell the staff at the facility to give you your up to date medication chart to bring to all your appointments with us (and with everyone else). Unfortunately we cannot always rely on the accuracy of the medication chart so if possible also bring the medications (a Webster pack or the MPS sachets) .
If you forget to bring your Webster pack to the consultation we are able to quickly ask your pharmacist for an up to date medication list. We cannot do this if you do not have a webster pack
Providing you with written information about changes to medications to take back to your chemist or residential aged care facility is essential. Do not let us forget to do this. We send a copy of what we give you to your GP as well.
The last thing we want to happen to you is an emergency trip to hospital