Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Those are "your days." Your sister also covers three days and your brother, sometimes, picks up the seventh - or not, which means you're usually there on Sundays as well. But, you all talked about it and decided it's the only way to keep mom at home. Oh, she does fine with meals and getting around - it's just the pills.
You've never seen so many medications. Blood pressure, heart, cholesterol, some little green pills, a big orangey looking one... Some with meals, some after - twice a day, or three times - one just at bedtime... The spreadsheet you and your sister created has been a godsend, even though the changes over the past few months have made it all but unreadable.
And, in your own defense, the mistake you made last week was really no big deal. After all, your mom hadn't been to the doctor in a couple months, so the trip to the ER could be viewed as a somewhat hurried up routine visit. Even the ER doctor said, "We're glad you brought her in."
...Could there be a better way to handle the treacherous maze of multiple medications?
Dr. Larry Shusterman, a geriatrician and former pharmacist, believes there is a much better way to deal with this complicated issue. He has developed an automated medication dispensing system for home use. The system, known as the Medi-Sure Medication Dispensing System, is currently being tested in several settings in New Jersey.
The Medi-Sure system is a compact unit, about the size of a DVD player, that is filled with medications and programmed by a pharmacist. Once in the patient's home, the device alerts the patient with a verbal cue when it's time to take a dose of medication. The patient then pushes a "Get Dose" button on the device and the medications are dropped into a drawer - specific directions about how to take the medication are also dropped into the drawer.
The device creates an electronic log each time it dispenses medications that can be reviewed either remotely, by health care providers, or locally by family members. Using the Medi-Sure system reduces medication errors, with close to 95% of patients taking their medications correctly. The cost of the system, including the pharmacy dispensing fees, is about $4 per day.
...OK - mom's all squared away. It went pretty well. No trip to the ER, no hysterics - at least, not on your mother's part. You jump in the car, grab your keys from your purse and, "What?" "Where'd that big orangey pill come from?" Hmm...To read more about the Medi-Sure system, see this from ScienceDaily.