According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average senior takes about seven different medications (both prescribed and over-the-counter) every day. Each year in the United States, adverse drug events—injury resulting from the use of medication—result in over 700,000 visits to the emergency room and 120,000 hospitalizations.
The importance of medication management is vital to maintaining overall health, especially when it comes to caring for the elderly. At AgeWell New York, Care Managers work hand in hand with members, caregivers and physicians to review members’ medications to help them appropriately manage dosages to protect themselves from harmful drug interactions and improper dosages.
To reduce the risk of harm or even death from adverse drug events, AgeWell New York encourages the following safety tips:
- Make a List. Make a full list of all medications—including prescription, over the counter, and supplements you are taking. Make sure your physicians and pharmacists are aware to prevent harmful drug interactions.
- Ask Questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Some questions that should be posed to physicians and pharmacists include:
- Why do I need to take this medication?
- What are the side effects of the medication?
- Are there certain foods or supplements that can interact with the prescribed medications?
- How, when and for how long should I take my medication?
- Keep A Medicine Diary. Take detailed notes of your reactions. This will help physicians decipher whether the reaction is a side effect of the medication or the ailment.
- Keep the number for poison control nearby. All calls are answered by medical professionals trained to answer questions about poisoning or poison prevention. 1-800-222-1222.