I thought I’d follow up the post on Dysphasia with a discussion and recommendation regarding administering medications. I rank managing and administering medication as one of the top three most important caregiver functions along with health advocacy and protecting physical well being.
J’s medication routines have varied from crazy complex — 10 medications spread over 6 times with varying dosages — to remarkably simple — 5 meds administered at 3 times. Regardless, I find it difficult to keep track of what needs to be given to her, when it needs to be, and that I actually did it. Maybe it’s my advancing age, but I knew I needed help with her meds since it’s hard enough for me to be good about my own meds. Soon after J came home, I found an online solution that is simple but highly useful — MyMedSchedule.com.
MyMedSchedule is a FREE simple way to keep track of what medications need to be administered and when. You can use the site through a website or through an app. You enter the medications, the dosage and the times to be taken into a list. The site helps you with providing full drug names and dosages or you can enter your own information if different. These can be prescription meds, over the counter, supplements, or anything else. Once entered, there are a few different ways to use the data. The functions I’ve found most useful are:
- Printing the medication list to take to the doctor — You know, every time you go to a doctor, you have to update their med list. Bringing a current printout or if you forget to, showing them the list from your phone, makes life much easier. Plus I keep a list in J’s travel bag which is with her whenever we go out. The nurses and doctors love this report!
- Printing the medication checklist to keep track of daily activities — I keep a clipboard next to J’s meds where I use the checklist to track what I’ve given her and when. I also note anything else important that has happened to her on that day. This helps me overcome my own forgetfulness, and most importantly, immediately updates anyone else who is coming to care for her. Another useful aspect is being able to analyze the history I’m recording to see what is happening with J over time. This may be more important in the case of stroke survivors or the like, but being able to see if a med change, or an illness, or anything else might be at the root of a behavior change can be illuminating.
- Allowing the site to send you reminders and notifications — I don’t use this consistently but it has come in handy. The site will send you a text message or email reminder so you don’t have to worry about missing your schedule.
There are other capabilities within MyMedSchedule such as being able to track lab results, but I’ve found these three things to be most useful to me. MyMedSchedule purports to protect your privacy so you don’t have to worry about your name and med information being used for advertising or research, though they do say they will use anonymized data at times.
Given that this site is free, I can’t really complain about functionality it lacks. The site has been reliable and bug-free, but there are a few things I’d like to see changed. First is that the site does not provide any drug interaction information, which they remind you of every time you use it. I’d like to see some attempt to warn of potential interactions as I’ve become increasingly concerned that the doctors and pharmacists don’t adequately monitor this.
I’d also like to have the ability to enter the prescribing doctor information and have the site automatically inform the pharmacy of the need for refills. It does offer a refill reminder which I haven’t started using.
MyMedSchedule is a great help — now if there was some way to make taking the medications easier, but that’s for another post.