Elizz is pleased to partner with Rexall for this blog post. We jointly encourage our family caregivers to download Rexall’s app, Be Well, which, amongst other things, makes medication management safe and effective.
It’s quite common for caregivers to help with medication management: dropping off medical prescriptions at the local drugstore; picking them up and delivering them; organizing the medications and reminding the person they are caring for to take the medications as prescribed. While none of these tasks are hard, per se, medication management-following medication safety tips- is extremely important. The first essential tip is being organized-having an up to date list of medications, prescription doses, and length of time on each medication. Now there’s an easy way to manage this: at Elizz, we strongly encourage families and caregivers to download Rexall’s Be Well app, which captures all of this medication management information.
Older age and medications
Polypharmacy. What does this fancy term mean? It is the term used when people take 5 or more medications.
- 2 out of 3 Canadians (66%) over the age of 65 take at least 5 different prescription medications.
- 1 out of 4 Canadians (27%) over the age of 65 take at least 10 different prescription medications (CIHI 2018).
To state the obvious, prescription medications can and do improve the quality of life for people. It is important to also know that the more medicines you take, the higher the chance of harmful effects, drug interactions or side effects and higher the risk of hospitalizations. The truth is medical care is often fragmented care, and when under the care of more than one doctor or specialist, they are often unaware of the medications prescribed by the other. Medications may cause interactions with each other in many ways.
In fact, it has been found that 58 % of people using five medications experience adverse effects, including falls and memory problems (which in turn can result in forgetting to take your medication).
Older adults are especially susceptible to adverse effects from medications. Even missing a medication or taking too many doses within a certain time-period, can have life-threatening consequences. In fact, it is one of the biggest contributors to Emergency room visits and Long-term care/nursing home placement.
Taking medications safely: what you can do
The first essential step is to keep an up to date list of all the medications you take, including any over-the-counter medicines (vitamins, supplements, herbal products), how long you have been taking them, and the prescribed doses. You don’t want to be one of those families or caregivers who is trying to piece together this information when in a crisis (adverse event, hospital ER visit) or even during a routine medical visit with your doctor, or homecare provider.
The bottom line is that it is patients themselves and their caregivers are the ones who become responsible for medication management. With this list of medications, pharmacists and doctors can then more easily assess if one of your medications is interacting with another one or flag potential interaction problems. To help you manage medications even further, here is video from The Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada on 5 questions to ask your healthcare provider.
There’s an app for that
It is cliché to say that the world is changing quickly when it comes to technology and its impact on our lives. Why would this not include caregiving? What are the barriers to adoption? Caregivers have flagged lack of awareness, cost and the time it takes to find and learn about new technologies. This is completely understandable given that time and energy are precious commodities for caregivers. This is why Elizz is always on the search for partnerships and products and services and technological developments that can lighten the load, reduce stress and save precious time and energy. In this vein, we are excited about a recently added feature to Rexall’s Be Well app – medication management.
Phone apps in general are a great low-tech solution to medication management, but what we especially love about Be Well is that it is designed for caregivers as well as patients.
Why we love Rexall’s Be Well app.
- Use the app to submit a refill or new prescription
- Get notified when prescriptions are ready to be picked up
- Access the last 3 years of prescription history
- Set up medication profiles for everyone in your care, including self and yes pets! (after you have been granted permission from the person you are caring for, of course)
- Coming soon (June 15th): access your 3-year vaccine history from Rexall on your app including your COVID vaccine, flu vaccine and other publicly funded vaccines
Most caregivers feel it is a privilege to do what they can to keep their loved ones as safe and healthy as possible. At the same time, there can be anxiety that comes with feeling responsible for health via medications. This Be Well app has been designed to incorporate caregivers’ role in medication management, by setting up access to the medication information. It is also a time saver because the app can be used to submit a prescription and be notified when the script is ready.
Elizz is proud to partner with a company like Rexall to improve the lives of families and their caregivers in communities nationwide.