Online tracking of medications for older people

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NPS is promoting three methods for older people to keep track of their medications as part of its annual Be Medicinewise Week campaign, including a paper medicines list, a Medicines eList that can be created online and saved as a PDF, and its award-winning Medicines List app for the iPhone.

As part of Be Medicinewise Week, NPS is promoting the creation of a medicines list to older people as well as encouraging them to clean out their medicines cabinet, correctly follow instructions for taking meds and ask questions of healthcare providers.

According to a survey of almost 800 people aged 65 years and older, commissioned by NPS from UMR Research, 58 per cent of older people take at least three medicines a day, but just over half keep a written list of their medications, with 30 per cent having no way of keeping track.

Of those who do keep a medicines list, only 60 per cent update it each time a dose is changed and half don't update the list every time they stop or start a medicine.

Less than half bring the list with them when they visit their doctor. Part of the campaign will concentrate on encouraging older people to regularly discuss their medications and their side effects with their healthcare providers.

NPS CEO Lynn Weekes said people aren’t always aware of the risks and benefits of their medicines. “One in four people think that prescription medicines rarely or never have side effects and just 20 per cent know that side effects are common for these medicines,” Dr Weekes said.

NPS has developed a paper medicines list that can be printed out, which when folded can fit into a wallet or handbag.

There is also a Medicines eList that can be saved and edited online or printed out as a PDF. It also allows users to add adverse reactions or allergies to medications along with emergency contact details.

NPS launched its Medicines List app for the iPhone in 2011, and has subsequently added extra functionality. It allows users to enter medicines, set alarms for taking them, add in allergies and an email function.

Posted in Aged Care

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