The majority of the older adults tend to use the prescribed medications. However, some of them do not completely understand the importance of the regular taking of medicines. This neglecting can lead to serious consequences. Therefore, the task of the nursing personnel or family caregivers is to provide all the needed information about medication to the older adults, and teach them how to use them in a proper way.
The statistics says that approximately 11% of the adults, taking medication, do not follow all the instructions carefully. In many cases, it leads to the emergency cases. Thus, nurses or caregivers have not only control the process of medication taking, but also teach the patients to be attentive and careful with this task. However, there are many aspects to consider, before creating an effective teaching plan for older adults.
According to the statistics, older patients at the age of 66-74 do not always keep the right regime of taking drugs, because of several risk factors. Firstly, they do not clearly remember hours of medication taking and their dose. Secondly, blurred vision and cognitive decline also influence their neglecting of many important medicines. Thirdly, older adults, living alone, have no one to control them, and remind about the drug taking. In addition, many patients do not exactly know what are the functions and effects (including the notion of side effects) of different medications (Nikolaus, Kruse, Bach, Specht-Leible, Oster, & Schlierf, 1996). Therefore, there is a need to provide an efficient, patient-centered teaching plan, which would help the older adults to keep to the regime strictly and avoid many problems, connected with the inappropriate taking of medications.
It is important to mention, that very often, older adults achieve the inappropriate prescription of the medicines. Moreover, if there are too many medicines to take, 32% of patients will probably forget to take them all in the right hours. Furthermore, many older adults find it impossible to buy all the needed medications, because of the high prices. Additionally, about 6% of older adults tend to self-prescribe some medications, according to their own decisions. It is a very dangerous position, and it demands an immediate solution. One of them is the providing of the effective studying about the usage of medications. The second solution is to provide a medication card with the clear schedule of medication taking. It will significantly help many older adults to follow regime properly. Moreover, there is a need to provide an ongoing monitoring of the patient’s state and their keeping the schedule. The statistics shows that approximately 16% of older adults tend to skip the medication taking. This point is especially crucial in the case with patients, who have been using medication for a long period (Claxton, Cramer, & Pierce, 2001).
Therefore, the teaching plan for the older adults should be based on the permanent control of their medication taking. In this case, a great role belongs to the human factor. Nurses or other caregivers need to monitor patients’ following of the regime and the right dosage of the drugs. Moreover, those people, responsible for monitoring, should be aware of all the functions and effects of the taken medications and know how to behave in the case of emergency.
Thus, the teaching plan for the 71-year-old patient should contain the following aspects. First, it is important to explain to the patient about the effects and the importance of regular taking of the medicines. It is also necessary to emphasize on the consequences of the inappropriate taking of the drugs. This task can be fulfilled in the form of the story. The caregiver has to provide general facts and examples from the reality in order to support his/ her expressions. Second, the caregiver has to provide a medication card with the description of all needed medications. Third, the caregiver has to provide the information, connected with the medication dosage. For example, some of them should be taken before food while others are applicable afterwards. Moreover, the caregiver can create a chart or a table with medications and their description. It should be written clearly, so that the patient can easily read it. The patient should apply to this chart at any time. Thus, it is better to place it on the wall or in the kitchen. It is very important to revise the learned information. The caregiver can check the patient’s knowledge about the needed drugs. If some information is still not clear for him/ her, there is a need to emphasize on it one more time.
Moreover, the caregiver can apply to different methods in order to help the patient to memorize the information in a quick time (Carlson, Fried, Xue, Tekwe, & Brandt, 2005). The first method is the method of associations. The patient should make a connection between the medication taking and his/ her daily ration (Ogedegbe, Harrison, Robbins, Mancuso, & Allegrante, 2004). For example, having the dinner, taking the bath, going to the gym can be used as signals to take appropriate drugs (Littenberg, 2006). The other effective method is the PDCA method, which will teach the patient to analyze his/ her achievement in this sphere. For example, the patient can put down the main goals and then write down each time after the completing of the tasks. Moreover, the patient can apply to the chart flow. This is a method, which shows the connections between the processes and results.
To sum up, the medication taking is an important process, especially in the adult age. However, many patients find it impossible to follow the schedule strictly, because of different factors. Therefore, there is a need to provide a patient-centered, humanistic, and effective teaching plan. It should teach the patient how to use medications properly. It should emphasize such key points as the schedule of drug taking, medication dosage, their description, the studying of the side effects and model of behavior in the case of emergency. All this is possible to fulfill with the usage of effective teaching methods.
- Carlson, M. C., Fried, L. P., Xue, Q. L. Tekwe, C., & Brandt, J. (2005). Validation of the Hopkins medication schedule to identify difficulties in taking medications. J. Gerontol A BiolSci Med Sci., 60(2):217–223.
- Claxton, A. J., Cramer, J., & Pierce, C. A. (2001). A systematic review of the associations between dose regimens and medication compliance. Clinical Therapeutics, 23(8):1296–1310.
- Littenberg, B., MacLean, C. D., & Hurowitz, L. (2006). The use of adherence aids by adults with diabetes: A cross-sectional survey. BMC Family Practice, 7:1.
- Nikolaus, T., Kruse W., Bach, M., Specht-Leible, N., Oster, P., & Schlierf, G. (1996). Elderly patients' problems with medication. An in-hospital and follow-up study. European Journal Clinical Pharmacology, 49(4):255–259.
- Ogedegbe, G., Harrison, M., Robbins, L., Mancuso, C. A., & Allegrante, J. P. (2004). Barriers and facilitators of medication adherence in hypertensive African Americans: A qualitative study. Ethnicity & Disease, 14(1):3–12.