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Friday, August 04, 2017

Managing Meds Doesn’t Have to Be a Pill for Elders

Written by  Monte Ephraim; LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care
Michelle Fritsch, pharmacy clinical coordinator Michelle Fritsch, pharmacy clinical coordinator

Managing your prescriptions is a crucial but often overlooked part of living your healthiest life. Sometimes, there are obstacles simply in obtaining important medications, and individuals on multiple medications can struggle to track which medications are required at which times. Once a medication isn’t needed anymore, it’s not always easy to find out how to properly dispose of it.

Fortunately, Chase Brexton Health Care’s pharmacists have a wealth of experience in helping patients navigate these issues. We asked Michelle Fritsch, pharmacy clinical coordinator, for a few tips on ways for elders to keep up with their medications.

What are some common difficulties that LGBT elders face when trying to obtain their prescriptions?

The difficulty that we most often encounter in the pharmacy has to do with an individual’s name. Prescriptions are billed through insurance using the name the insurance company has, usually as shown on the insurance card.  Even if a person’s name has been legally changed, it also needs to be changed with the insurance company.

Our pharmacy staff have been training to ask the right questions, to recognize when a prescription is not processing correctly due to this issue, and to ask for both a person’s preferred name and the name on their insurance.

How can elders better organize and track their medications?

There are several tools available to help organize medications. Which one is right for an individual depends on some personal factors.  If remembering to take the medication is difficult, here are some options:

• Put the medication box beside something that is part of a daily habit, such as your toothbrush, and associate taking the medication with that habit;

• Set a timer on your phone or in your bag to ring.  This is especially helpful for any doses that are to be taken in the middle of the day;

• Use a pill box that has a timer built in;

• Using a pill box or medication organizer, so you know if you took the dose. If you think you took your dose, but you’re not sure, and it is still in the organizer, then you know you missed it. If it is gone, you can be more assured you took it.

Ask your pharmacist to help you find the right type of organizer for you.

What should elders do with old, expired, or unneeded medications?

Thankfully, there are relatively new options available for anyone who needs to dispose of medication.  Use these two links to help find the available location that is closest to you:

Tinyurl.com/MDDrugTakeBack

Tinyurl.com/BaltimoreCountyDrugTakeBack

Tablets, capsules, liquids, inhalers, and other medications can be taken for disposal at the locations found in these links.  Any sharps such as syringes, lancets, or needles should be placed in a sturdy plastic container (such as a laundry detergent or two-liter soda container) and placed in the trash.

Where can LGBT elders find help with obtaining, organizing, and disposing of their medications?

Ask your pharmacist! Pharmacists at Chase Brexton are happy to help you find a disposal station, help you identify methods to organize and remember your medications, and help with questions about how to obtain a prescription. Chase Brexton pharmacies also now have an automatic refill reminder system, which your pharmacist can tell you more about. Finally, when your prescription is about to expire, request a new one a few days in advance.  This will give your doctor time to write a new prescription and for the pharmacy to get it ready for you.

Chase Brexton Health Care offers in-house pharmacies at most of its Centers. For more information, visit Chasebrexton.org/pharmacy.

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