An individual who requires hospice care at home will likely have a medication regimen that they must follow. Because their prescription is important to their overall wellness as they recover, it’s crucial to manage it appropriately. Keeping prescription medication secure is essential for requesting timely renewals on meds, discouraging abuse from risk-seeking teenagers or individuals dependent on the medication’s effects, and minimizing the risk of them falling into the hands of young children in the house.
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Keeping Prescription Medication Secure in Your Home
The following tips can help you ensure that you know the exact status of the medication in your household.
Secure Medicine in a Protected Location
Treat prescription medicine just like any other valuable item in your home. The medicine cabinet may not be the safest place since anyone can access it at any time. You can have a private cabinet that can be securely locked in a location that is only known or can only be accessed by you. This ensures that no one else gets to them other than you.
Monitor Pill Counts
Individuals on hospice can sometimes be on some heavy prescription drugs to manage their comfort. Monitoring pills is important even when you actively and responsibly store medication away from curious children. Close monitoring of how many pills are left ensures that you’ll never miss when it comes time to put in an order for refill.
We all know that, especially for high-risk pain medication, pharmacies don’t always have the right stuff available at the right time, and they can also drag their feet. You’ll therefore never be caught unaware and in dire need of a refill. In many cases, however, the hospice will provide all of the medication for you, so you’ll simply need to notify the nurse visiting the home.
Related: Who Visits My Home During My Loved One’s Hospice Care?
Keep track of your refills as well to ensure the security of the medication. If it occurs to you that you need refills more often than usual, it’s an indicator that something might be wrong.
Dispose of Unused or Expired Medicine
Using expired medicine can be catastrophic to the health of your loved one. There’s no reason to keep expired medication around; it’s much better to get rid of any leftovers rather than storing them in your cabinet. Take a regular inventory of all the prescriptions currently in use and identify those that are no longer necessary or are expired.
Be sure to dispose of them in the correct manner to reduce the risk of other parties accessing them and abusing them. Some people mix them into a bottle of bleach or other toxic and unappealing liquid to discourage abuse from dumpster diving.
Related: What If I Choose the Wrong Hospice for My Loved One?
Administer Medication as Prescribed
Continuous use of prescription drugs can cause a person to build up a tolerance and thus a dependency or addiction. This is especially true when it comes to pain medication or sleep aides that may be used in a hospice care plan. In addition, some medication can cause fuzziness, so it can be difficult for your loved one to stick to the routine if they are administering the medication themselves. If necessary, set an alarm or other reminder to stay on the right track.
This is where monitoring pill counts and storing them in a secure location comes in when keeping prescription medication secure. If your loved one is accidentally taking their medication too often or not often enough, it may be prudent to limit access during periods where they’re not supposed to be taken and administer it to them yourself. If it seems like they are in pain despite following the dosage recommendations, consult one of the health care professionals with your hospice to adjust the plan.