One important routine to maintain during the holiday period
The festive season can prove to be a particularly challenging time for medication adherence, however medication expert Gerard Stevens AM says it is one routine that is important to stick to.
“Most routines fly out the window at the end of the year, which is really important in order to relax and have a good time. However, every year millions of Australians suffer adverse medicine events as a result of not taking medications as prescribed. So it is really important to stick to your medication schedule. However, routine changes and cost pressures during the holiday period can put people at risk,” said Mr Stevens, who is also Managing Director of Webstercare and an Australian pioneer of medication management for the past 40 years.
“This is because holidays can be a time when it is easy to lose track of normal daily schedules. There are a lot of disruptions to regular routines, and it can be hard to remember if medication has been taken. Everyone wants to relax and have a good time, but things don’t always go according to plan, especially when daily medication routines are interrupted,” explains Mr Stevens
Simple steps to stay medication safe
What happens if you run out of your medications or lose them while you are on holidays? Mr Stevens, who invented the iconic Webster-pak that keeps thousands of Australians medication-safe every day, says a few simple steps can help people to stay medication safe while they are away from home:
1. Ask your pharmacist for a Webster-pak® for the duration of your holiday period
A Webster-pak will ensure all medications prescribed are available for the duration of the trip and act as a reminder to take the recommended doses. The most widely used blister-pack in Australia is the Webster-pak®, which was invented by Mr Stevens more than 35 years ago.
“With a Webster-pak system, the pharmacy will supply a week’s worth of medication packed into individual dosage times, so you know exactly what needs to be taken at the right time. Your pharmacy may even deliver it for you!” says Mr Stevens.
2. Carry a PocketProfile™ Medicines List in a wallet or purse
People can find it difficult to remember and explain exactly what medications and doses they take, especially with multiple medications. One great solution is Webstercare’s PocketProfile Medicines List, which can simply be printed by your pharmacist. It contains a person’s entire medication profile, including images of medications, and neatly folds down to the size of a credit card, so it’s easy to keep in your purse or wallet. Whenever a medication changes, your pharmacist will issue you with an updated PocketProfile.
“Around one-in-five people aged 70 or older are on four or more medications, which they truly need. It can be difficult to remember all of the names and correct dosages,” warned Mr Stevens. “So having an up-to-date list can be very useful. Plus, in an age where things are increasingly digital, users of the PocketProfiledon’t need the latest gadgets, apps and electronic devices – it won’t run out of charge and it won’t shut down.”
The PocketProfile also contains the person’s home pharmacy and phone number, enabling a pharmacist at a holiday destination to simply ring the home pharmacy to confirm the medications that were prescribed, before issuing emergency replacements to last the remainder of the holiday.
“It is particularly helpful in emergency situations. Medical staff can immediately see a patient’s medications and any other medical concerns, including ‘in case of emergency’ contact details,” said Mr Stevens.
3. Speak to your pharmacist before going away
“It is a good practice to check in with your pharmacist before going away, they are a wealth of knowledge and information,” says Mr Stevens. “It is also an opportunity to speak to them about the Pharmacist Shared Medicines List, (PSML) a consolidated list of medicines prepared by a pharmacist and uploaded to a patient’s My Health Record. It can help to reduce medication-related problems, specifically those experienced by older Australians.”