Keeping track of medication can become a nightmare, particularly if you're having to take multiple medicines at different times of the day. Skipping doses or inadvertently doubling up is potentially very dangerous, yet sadly all too easy to do.
Fortunately, help is at hand.
The key to preventing confusion is to develop your own routine and stick to it! This will help you keep track of what you've taken and when, ease anxiety, and prevent accidents.
We've collected some ideas together to help with the most common problems people face, so take a look and decide which might work for you...
Help with sorting out multiple tablets
- Keep a written record
This may sound like a chore but, making a note of what you've taken and when, is essential to prevent confusion.
The simplest idea is to have a small diary that you keep just for your medication, and record the time you've taken each dose that day. You will then have a written record that you can look back on and check.
Another idea is to keep a daily chart in a clear plastic wallet and use a chinagraph pencil to tick off when you've taken each dose. The pencil can be wiped off at the start of each day so the chart can be re-used.
- Sort your medicines into separate containers
Consider separating your boxes/bottles ofmedicine and grouping the ones you take at the same time each day together.
Label one clear plastic sandwich box "MORNING" for instance, and keep all the boxes of tablets you have to take at breakfast time. Then have another marked "Teatime" and another "Bedtime" etc. The boxes could be kept in the same place, or could be kept somewhere that will remind you to take them.....the morning box in the kitchen for instance, and the bedtime box on your bedside table.
- Use a dossettte box
These are readily available from pharmacists and come in various shapes and sizes with multiple compartments to help you prepare your tablets for either a single day, or up to 7 days.
- Ask to have your prescription supplied in daily unit doses.
This is a service offered by many pharmacists so make a few enquiries.
Reminders to take your medication
- Use a dossette box fitted with an alarm.
This will prompt you to take your medication at the right time. Some sound an audible alarm, some have flashing lights and some use vibration.
- Set up an alarm clock or watch that allows you to set multiple daily alarms to remind you each time your medication is due.
- Purchase an automatic pill dispenser.
These machines are battery powered and will physically move the pill compartments so that you are offered the correct pills at the correct time. These units use rotating carousels that require loading with a week or a months worth of pills.
- Consider an app on your smartphone.
Medication reminder apps can be downloaded to compatible smart phones and are designed to give a reminder when your medication is due. You, or someone you know have to set the dosage times, and names of the medication before the reminders will work. Some give an audible reminder, others just a visual reminder when you check the screen.
An app could be handy if you use your mobile phone a lot, but it should never be your sole reminder system.
It is way too easy for your phone battery to run out of charge, for you to forget your phone, or the phone to be on silent mode for it to be fully reliable.
Help to open pill packets and screw top medicine bottles
There are several devices on the market to assist in removing tablets from the foil blister packs they come in, as well as multigrip bottle openers to help with removing the childproof lids of tablet bottles.
For further advice, visit the Disabled Living Foundation's website AskSARA - www.asksara.dfl.org.uk
Here the charity provides detailed information about the huge range of products available to assist with all aspects of daily life. If you click on the section marked Medication Management, you will be asked a series of easy questions to find out your exact needs and will then be provided with a personalised report advising on possible products that could help.