Medication Safety - Tips to Prevent Errors


Medication safety is critical, especially for seniors! Nearly two million Americans are hurt each year by the medication mistakes of others, this total doesn't include the mistakes that many of us make on our own. Proper medication safety practices have the potential to prevent more than 700,000 visits to hospital emergency rooms each year which is a result of drug reactions from undesirable drug effects.


Seniors typically take more medications and are twice as likely as others to visit an emergency room for adverse drug issues and they are seven times more likely to be hospitalized after one of these visits.


Follow these tips on the basics of medication safety and management shared in Senior Journal.com.

  • The first step is to understand what's being taken the medication's purpose and what is the appropriate dosage.

  • Keep an up-dated medication list. Keeping this list with you at all times help you and others identify potential medication issues. Make sure that all of your doctors know about every medicine you are taking. Be sure to include prescription, over-the-counter as well as dietary supplements.

  • Schedule a one-on-one with your pharmacist or primary physician. For anyone taking four or more medications or for those seeing multiple physicians, this is recommended. These meetings can help prevent unwanted side effects and ensure medications are working properly alone and in combination with other pills.

  • Stay organized. A weekly pill organizer can help you keep track of whether you've taken your medication. A journal or log book can also serve as a great tool especially if loved ones or caregivers are stopping by to follow up for safety reasons.

  • Store at the correct temperature. Most are to be stored at room temperature, but be sure to observe any refrigeration requirements. Try to keep all medications out of the warm, humid environment that your bathroom provides.

  • Check the expiration date. After an expiration date, medication may become less effective.

  • Always read labels. Taking two different medications that both have the same ingredient could have an adverse reaction. You could be taking a prescription medication and then need an over-the-counter remedy. Both medications have one of the same ingredients, now you are exceeding the maximum safety dose without even knowing it.

Your pharmacist is there to help, they have great medication expertise, so don't be afraid to ask them questions concerning your medications. Be sure to find out the following when taking a new medication:

  • How am I supposed to take it and for how long?

  • What side effects are likely? What do I do if they occur?

  • Is this medicine safe to take with other medicines or dietary supplements I am taking?

  • What food, drink, or activities should I avoid while taking this medicine?


The best way you can help to prevent errors is to be an active member of your health care tam. That means taking part in every decision about your health care. People who are more involved with their care tend to get better results.

Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care assistance, Easy Living Services, Inc. We have supported Atlanta families in their efforts to keep loved ones fulfilled and safe at home since 1994. Call to discuss your specific needs, 770-442-8664 or visit us at: www.easylivingservices.com

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