How to organize daily medications that we/ our loved ones take

This article would cover the way we can organize and store medications. It could be for your own consumption or that you are in charge of dispensing the medication for your loved one.  This article does not cover storage for all the medications- I would do a separate blog post for that later.

For almost 3 years since my mom was on tube feeding, I would be dispensing medication for her. There are a number of medications that her doctor have prescribed for her to take before her breakfast (on empty stomach), after breakfast and after dinner.

Through observation and trying out methods to organize the daily medication that I have need to dispense for my mom, there are a few ways that I would wish to share.

The (chaotic) way most people go about in their medication:

Typically, I’ve noticed how most people take their medication is that they would store all their medication in either a medicine cabinet, a container or in the same plastic bag that was provided by the pharmacy. Then when it comes to the time to take medication, they would rummage through bundles of medication, and then start taking relevant tablets out to consume.

To do this, the person or the caregiver needs to be very familiar with the medication that they are taking.

The downsides of this method is:

  • it takes time to go through the stack to get the medication that one needs to take
  • one may overlook and forget to take certain medication
  • does not work for those who are forgetful as they may forget which medicine to take
  • one may end up finishing more recent than the previous medication. For example, we may have some medication left over from last year’s appointment but because they are all heaped in the bundle, when we rummage through the bundle, we may end up taking the pack that is more recent instead of finishing the earlier pack first. With time, we may have expired medications in the bundle.

I find this way is far less than idea and it causes overwhelm and added stress. If you are a caregiver who have also a million other tasks to do, you would unknowingly add to your stress levels through the need to go through bundles of medication to find the ones to give to your loved one.

Ways of organizing daily medication:

There are 2 ways of doing it which can help to make taking medications each day less chaotic and easier:

I learned this through observing how those around me organize their medications.

Method 1: Place the daily medications systematically- ie one pill case for one section’s medication

Who this method is good for:

  • When you are a caregiver for your loved one and giving the medication to them daily – this provides easy access
  • When you prefer to have your medications set up accordingly base on dosages so that you can just pour them out during each time

This is the method I use to organize and dispense my mom’s medication. My mom is on tube feeding. She has to take the following medications:

  • Entecavir, in the morning about 2 hours before meal
  • Medications (vitamins and Fluimucil) to be taken after breakfast
  • Medications (multivitamin, cholestrol and relaxant medication) after dinner

I have 2 rolls of pill cases of different colour to separate between morning and evening. Each roll have 7 pill case which I would use to put in her morning and evening medications respectively. Her medications like Entecavir and Fluimucil are only removed from the protective packaging that they came in when I need to feed the medication to her. But the other tablets are in the respective pill cases for morning and evening.

As my mom is on tube feeding, her medication needed to be crushed on a pestel before feeding. I find it convenient to have the medications in pill cases and just pour them out to crush them. It reduces a lot of stress and friction (especially during times when I may feel very tired) when preparing the medication.

As each pill case roll would last only 7 days, I would replenish the medication every few days. This is easy to do, in between waiting for her meal to finish while watching an education YouTube video.

What I do is that one certain week, I would work on the medication from the left to right, then another week would be from right to left. This prevents any medication for sitting in the pill case for too long.

Caution:

If you are giving medication to someone who can be ‘forgetful’, then ONLY GIVE THE DOSE FOR THAT PERIOD. Ie morning medication for morning, and then hand them their medication in the evening. Do NOT give any extra medication.

I know of an old lady once who had started to become very forgetful.  She had various medical condition including heart issues, high cholestorol, diabetes and high uric acid. Her caregivers would at first prepare her medication as per method above and hand it over to her to take as she is still mobile and at first they did not know she was that forgetful. Then one day she got really unwell and ended up being admitted to the hospital.

When they took her medication to the hospital, they noticed that her medication were lesser than the left over duration. Through further probing, it was discovered that she sometimes took ‘double dosage’, ie took her medication twice because she took it once in the morning and then forgot that she had taken it, then she took again.

After that, the caregivers made sure they only give her the amount of medication required for that single session and nothing more.  This is a lesson for us all to learn that we need to be very careful especially with medication for the elderly and especially the forgetful ones.

 

Method 2: Place the same tablets in the same pill case

In a pill box, we place the same medication to fill up one pill box, then repeat this with other medications on other boxes.

Who this method is good for:

  • for our own self when we want to organize just the medication we are taking daily

This is something I learned and observed people around me do. They would fill their pill organizer with their medications and supplements. Then they would take it according to the doze as prescribed by the doctor. When the medication runs down, they would then refill it.

In the past, I do not take any supplements or medication. But recently I have been diagnosed with aneamia hence the doctor has prescribed for me iron tablets (2 tablets to be taken twice a day), multivitamin and folic acid. Initially these medications are in the packs they came in and I would then rummage through to take the supplements.

Somehow, the act of having to go through the pile (as it can get quite thick since the doctor gave me supplements to last me for 3 months), creates a kind of procastination and caused me to often take the supplements too late or did not take at all.

After I placed them all in a pill organizer, I have been taking them on time, I habit stack and time it together with the time I give my mom her medication in the morning and evening. This then lead to me feeling better and benefiting from the supplements- I now feel less fatigue and tired. Hopefully my blood test in few months time would show an improvement in my red blood cells.

Hence this is a very simple way of organizing but it works to help us take our supplements/ medication more promptly. Don’t remove all the medication from their casing… just put about a week or two of the medication out. And certain supplements like those vitamic C that would melt in water, we would need to keep them in their original packaging to prevent them changing with physical temperature, moisture or oxidized.

Conclusion:

The above two methods works well depending on the situation we are in. After using method 1 for my mom’s medication and supplements, and method 2 for my own, it really has helped me be more organized.

There is no issue with refilling as I would usually do it in the evenings when I am winding down, while watching/listening to a good education YouTube video. Or while waiting for my mom’s tube feeding food to finish. It is actually kinda therapeutic to arrange the pills.

 

Spread the love
Check out my YouTube channel @yinteing1 :  

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top