No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke! April 1st kicks off an important campaign called Medication Safety Week. This campaign runs until April 7th. Each day of this week is dedicated to educating the public about different methods of how to safely take your regular prescription drugs.

It has been found that 7 out of every 10 Americans are taking regular prescription drugs every single day! But how many Americans are following each and every  of the directions properly for those medications?

Some common issues with prescription medications are when people take them after their expiration date, not following all of the interaction warnings, or not taking them with food.

These are a few of the different methods for understanding and following through with medication safety in your own homes:

Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet And Organize Your Medications

We are all guilty of doing this. We get a cold or headache, purchase some Tylenol or over-the-counter medication, and it sits in our cabinet for years.

The best thing to do is start this week of awareness with a clean slate. Make sure all medications are in their original boxes or packaging, and are away from children and pets.

Unsure about how to dispose of old prescription medications? Crush the tablets in dirt or kitty litter, place in a sealed container, scratch out all information on the prescription bottles, and throw them away. 

Make sure your current medications are organized as well. You can keep an updated list on any over the counter medications and when you bought them if they do not have a date label.

You can also store them in order of expiration date. This way, you will know which medications are going to expire first.

Make Sure You Understand What You Are Taking

Sure, the doctor wrote you a prescription, but do you understand everything behind why they chose this particular medicine? Health Literacy is just as important as any other aspect when it comes to medication safety.

A patient with low health literacy could be taking their medication incorrectly, at the wrong dosages, or worse. This can cause more health issues down the road and possibly even death.

Patients need to make sure they understand fully what they are taking. Doctors and pharmacists need to help patients understand, but advocating for yourself is extremely important as well. As a patient, you need to understand the following about your medication:

  • Dosage amount and times to take them
  • Taking medication with food or water
  • Include your list of common medications
  • Understand name brands and common generic names along with this
  • Potential side effects to this medication

All of these are an important aspects to patients gaining health literacy! Without it, a patient could be seriously hurting themselves, causing more and more issues in the long term.

Read Your Medication Labels Carefully

You pick up your medication from the pharmacy and run home as quickly as possible. When the time comes to take your medicine, you give it a quick glance, take it, and continue with your night. This is one of the worst things a patient can do.

Does the medication need to be stored differently? Does this cause dizziness or other issues? Did you even take the right medication?

Follow this link for a “how-to” for reading and understanding your medication labels.

While it is important for doctors and nurses to communicate with their patients, it is just as important to communicate with healthcare professionals yourself. It is important for patients to understand what the doctor is saying and the doctor to fully understand patient concerns.

Research shows that effective patient-physician communication can improve a patient’s health as quantifiably as many drugs.

Medication Safety In Healthcare Settings?

While it is important for patients to understand medication safety, the medication itself needs to be kept safe in healthcare settings as well. A great way to keep medications safe in hospitals is with FlowCARE Nurse Server.

 FlowCARE keeps all medications safe and organized. The nurses are able to read labels easily inside the server, and can relay them directly and easily because they are located inside the patient’s room.

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FlowCARE is a patent-pending nurse server designed to make nurses and patients lives easier. For more information on installation and prices, contact us today!

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