Taking your medicines safely
How you take your medicines has a big impact on how well you feel.
If you don’t take your medicines as prescribed, what could happen? Firstly, your medicines may not work properly. This means you won’t get any relief and your medical condition may get worse. Secondly, you may experience side effects ranging from mild to very harmful.
Bluebird Care can help you to take your medicines. Our care workers are fully trained to support you with all aspects of your medicines, from a gentle reminder to giving you your tablets. On this page, we have produced a few simple tips to help you manage your medicines and stay well.
Take your medicines at the right time, in the right way
Take the time to learn how and when to take your medicines and when to apply ointments. Some medicines must be taken at night to work well; others with food or on an empty stomach. Some medicines must not be taken at the same time as other particular medicines or types of foods.
You also need to be aware of any possible side effects and what to do if these occur
Read the information with each medicine
Read the instructions that come with your medicine and make sure you understand them. If you are unclear, get advice from your pharmacist.
For each medicine, you should know:
- The name of the medicine
- What the medicine is supposed to do and how long it is likely to take before you see the effects. If you don’t think the medicine is working, tell your doctor
- How it should be taken and when it should be taken – and for how long
- What foods, drinks or other medicines should you avoid?
- What are the possible side effects? When should you call the doctor?
Ways to remember when to take your medicines
There are a number of things you can do to make sure you take the right medicine, in the right dose at the right time.
- Get into a routine of taking your medicines at the same time each day. Repeating this activity on a daily basis will create a memorable ritual rather like brushing your teeth after breakfast and before bedtime
- If you would like your care worker to remind you, ask the supervisor to include this in your care and support plan
- Make a note to remind yourself or create a chart showing when you need to take each medicine and how it must be taken. Use a colour coding system to distinguish different times of the day. For example, yellow for morning, green for lunchtime, blue for dinnertime and red for bedtime. Recording each time you take your medicine on a simple medication log can help you to keep track of whether you have taken your medicines. If you have a care worker, these notes will help them to know when you are due another dose
- Keep your medicines in an obvious place. For example, if you need to take thyroxine before breakfast and you always have a cup of tea first thing in the morning, put the tablets next to the kettle
- If you regularly take several tablets each day, your pharmacist may be able to supply you with a monitored dosage system. This is a system that groups your tablets for each day in sealed containers
- Set your mobile phone alarm or use timer caps for bottles that beep when it’s time to take a tablet
Have your prescriptions reviewed
The number of medicines you need to take can seem overwhelming. Doctors may need to prescribe several medicines to treat different conditions and symptoms. If you are worried that you are taking too many, ask your GP to review your medicines.
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