In this fast-paced world, we’re often pressed for time to maintain our homes, cars and pools. But what about maintaining the health of you and your family? Scheduling annual check-ups can be time consuming, but it can save lives. Knowing what medications (prescription and nonprescription) you, your children and other family members take and in what dosages is important, too.
If you’re like most people, then you may not give much thought to assembling a list of up-to-date prescriptions. I’m here to implore you to make this a high priority. In fact, take time to do it today.
Doing so can help reduce errors should you or a family member need emergency medical care.
Consider these alarming statistics from the National Center for Biotechnology Information and American Pharmacists Association:
• Research shows that 58 percent of adverse drug effects can be prevented if patients reconciled their medications, kept medication lists current and carried their lists with them at all times.
• Half of all hospital-related medication errors and 20 percent of all adverse drug events have been attributed to poor communication at the transitions and interfaces of care.
No one wants to be in an emergency situation guessing about critical medical information that will affect their care. Often, not having this information will cause a delay in care, as nurses try to confirm current medications with the pharmacy or a family member before providing that information to the physician.
Here are a few things you can do now:
Keep a historical record. This applies to you, along with your spouse and children, and it’s a good idea to ask your parents to do the same, especially if you may be called to assist them with a health crisis.
You may prefer to document your medications on paper, but a simple Internet search will reveal several apps that are compatible with iPhone and Android smartphones, too.
Be sure to include:
• Allergies to both medications and foods and the type of reaction (e.g., hives, rash, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing)
• Medical history. This may include chronic conditions or recent illnesses.
• Medications, including name, prescribing doctor and pharmacy, date started, dosage and whether it was completed or is ongoing.
• Name and dates of immunizations.
• Vitamin supplements, herbal remedies and other over-the-counter items, such as cough medicine or topical solutions. Remember to be specific regarding dosage.
Each time a change occurs, update your list and date it. Then, make sure someone in your family or circle of friends knows where you keep it.
If you get into the habit of doing this now, it could save your life in the future.
Malia Daehler is director of pharmacy at Abrazo West Campus in Goodyear.