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Caring Hands

“Was it one pill at 2:00 PM…or two pills at I:00 PM?”

Medication Management & Safety for Caregivers: There has been a lot of recent news coverage on the ‘Opioid Epidemic’.  The focus has been on the overuse and abuse of these powerful painkillers, and while these drugs can become addicting they are also our front line defense against extreme chronic pain.   

Learn: Opiate, Opioid, Narcotic - What's the Difference?

When a family member has been prescribed narcotics for healing and pain management, it is important to monitor for correct usage to keep the patient both safe and comfortable.

As a caregiver, there are some actions you can take that will simplify dispensing narcotics and other types of medication, and help you stay on top of your family member’s health.

ALL the Meds

First, check with ALL of your family member’s doctors and pharmacists to put together a complete list of medications and potential drug interactions. Patients often have several physicians for varying issues, who may not know there are other medical personnel or multiple pharmacies involved.

You can also search the internet for interactions caused by the wrong combination of drugs, or for medicines contraindicated for specific health conditions or allergies. It is important to know the health history of your family member, so you can advocate against a potentially disastrous prescription or drug combination.

Ensure that your family member continues a full dose of prescribed medication for the correct amount of time and doesn’t try to save money by cutting pills in half.

Get Organized!

Does this look like your bathroom counter?

Pill bottles in basket

Throwing all the patient’s pill bottles in a basket is a recipe for mixing up or missing meds -- and disorganization can be dangerous. Here are some ideas to keep pill-taking orderly and on track:

  • Pill Reminders allow you to set up an entire week of medication dispensing by day and time. These plastic, compartmentalized boxes should be see-through, and have removable pill slots so a patient can take pills to-go when away from home for the day. Pricing can range from just a few dollars for a basic pill reminder model, to a couple of hundred dollars for an automated pill ‘tracking system’
  • Medication reminder APPS for smartphones send a message or beep an alarm to remind either the patient or the caregiver about medicine in a timely manner
  • Refrigerator visuals are basic, but a check-off chart in plain view can offer a methodical safeguard against too little or too much medication
  • Other Creative Med Reminder Ideas to consider
Pills in a dispenser box marked with days of week

The Hospice Option

Another resource to assist with medication management is hospice care. The old vision of hospice was of a place where people went to die, but hospice has evolved into a system of in-home, modern-day pain management – helping medically compromised people live out their lives in comfort.

A patient must first be admitted to hospice under a medical diagnosis that fits hospice coding, and the patient must be willing to forego ‘life-prolonging’ treatment. This does not mean a patient’s physical needs are ignored, but the hospice medical team will treat the patient with medication to maintain quality of life rather than use invasive, life-extending procedures.

Home Care Help

A reputable home care agency can provide professional caregivers and nursing staff, for both short-term and long-term situations. Marisa Home Care staff can accompany a patient to a doctor’s appointment and translate a medical diagnosis or care updates for family members living out of state. Medication management and in-home patient care is a 24/7 job, and a family caregiver deserves the partnership with supportive, affordable assistance whenever feasible.

Marisa Home Care logo of Turquoise Flower with Company Name

We’re here to help support you: visit Marisa Home Care online for free resources or call us NOW at 248.354.7600.

Because Sometimes You Need a Hand is more than a slogan at Marisa Home Care; it’s a philosophy that guides its staff to approach each client with understanding, professionalism, and a can-do attitude that inspires confidence in clients and their families.

“We think of it as ‘Just Ask’ care,” said founder and co-owner Marsha Goldsmith Kamin, who describes the company as a boutique-style care provider, where the commitment to providing comfort and quality care goes beyond the limitations of typical home care services.

Clients can choose from a wide variety of services and types of care, from temporary help for those who are hospitalized or recovering from surgery or injury, to those who require more intensive long-term care. 

The staff at Marisa Home Care includes a range of trained caregivers, including registered nurses (RNs), licensed professional nurses (LPNs), gerontologists and aides, who provide everything from skilled nursing care for bedridden patients to monthly trips to Costco for seniors who need an extra pair of hands.

“We’re incredibly flexible,” Goldsmith Kamin said. “It’s not ‘home care in a box’. We’re not a franchise; we’re a local company whose principals have years of experience and deep roots in the community.”

The services that Marisa Home Care staff members can provide are as individual as the clients who request them. Besides basic services such as assistance with meals, bathing, dressing and medication, or transportation to medical appointments, Marisa caregivers will accompany families or individuals on vacations, take an older adult to synagogue or a night at the theater, or help out with holiday shopping or decorating.

For older adults wishing to remain in their own homes as long as possible, to those recuperating from surgery or illness, Marisa can make life easier. One call is all it takes to arrange a confidential consultation to determine the best care plan for you or a loved one. ~

Marisa Home Care Contacts: Marsha Goldsmith Kamin & Christopher Corbett; 27698 Franklin Road, Southfield, MI 48034; (248) 354-7600; www.marisahomecare.com

Excerpted from Detroit Jewish News, December 2015; Ronelle Grier (Contributing Writer), Jerry Zolynsky (Photography)