A written record of all medications, supplements and vitamins that you take regularly or semi-regularly
Cookeville – Everyone has a say in patient safety. March 13-17 is Patient Safety Awareness Week. The team at Cookeville Regional Medical Center strives to make every patient’s experience a safe and enjoyable one.
Patients have a say as well. One of those ways is by keeping an updated medication list on you and bring to all medical appointments, hospital visits, etc.
“Keeping an updated and easily accessible list of medications is important for several reasons,” said Sheldon Hitchcock, Cookeville Regional pharmacy director. “Mainly, it is crucial to maintaining one’s health.
“Keeping accurate medication lists helps you and your health care provider keep an accurate record of the medications you are taking, including the name, dosage and frequency of use,” he continued. “This information is important for managing your health and preventing drug interactions and side effects.”
It also helps your health care provider make informed decisions about your care and help them monitor your progress and adjust your treatment plan as necessary.
“It can be challenging to remember the medication you are currently taking, why you are taking them and how to take them,” Hitchcock said.
An up-to-date medication list serves multiple purposes:
- It is an informational resource for you and your health care providers. This resource prevents errors during transitions of care.
- It allows you to update your medication list as medications are changed. For example, after you visit your doctor and return.
- In an emergency, it lets others know your medications and allergies.
“With this communication between the patient and provider, it can also prevent medication errors, such as taking the wrong medication or incorrect dosage,” Hitchcock said. “This is especially important if you are seeing multiple health care providers or getting prescriptions filled at different pharmacies.”
What is a home medication list?
This is a written record of all medications, supplements and vitamins that you take regularly or semi-regularly. This includes not only prescription medications, but also over-the-counter medications as well as any herbal supplements, topical medications or inhaled medications.
The most important thing is creating a list you can understand and can keep with you so you can share with your health care providers.
“It’s also a good idea to create and maintain separate medication lists for individuals you are caring for,” Hitchcock said.
What should I include on my home medication list?
Medication name. All medications have both a brand and a generic name. Either one is fine to use on your list.
Dose strength. This is the number listed behind the name of the medication. Many people can remember the names of the medication, but a harder time remembering the dose. Almost all medications have different strengths, so it’s important to know what dose you are taking.
Directions. It’s important to include if you take the medication daily, twice a day, once a week (include what day of the week), in the mornings or at bedtime, injected or with meals.
Indication. State why you are taking the medication or the disease state or illness the medication is treating. It’s important to be specific as many medications can be used to treat multiple conditions and are dosed differently for each one.
Prescriber. List the name of the prescriber and their specialty (such as primary care provider, endocrinology, cardiologist, etc.)
List your medication allergies, vaccines and dates, past medical history and your preferred pharmacy.
What medications should I include in my list?
Prescription medications, such as daily maintenance medications, as-needed medications, inhalers, injectables, eye drops, ear drops, antibiotics, patches, topical creams or ointments.
Non-prescription medications, such as over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbals.
Where should I keep my list?
A paper copy can go in your wallet or purse or you can keep an electronic copy on your phone.
Remember to review and update it after each doctor’s visit or admission to the hospital.
It’s also a good idea to share this information with a loved one or caretaker who can assist if you are unable to provide information on admission.
How can I get started?
Helpful apps that can be downloaded to your phone include: Medisafe Medication Management, DrugLyst, My Medication Diary and Drugs.com Medication Guide. A few pharmacy chains, such as Walmart, Walgreens and CVS, have apps available to help track your medication.
Photo courtesy of CRMC.