America is home to a range of senior care facilities. From the relative independence of assisted living communities to more tightly controlled nursing homes and memory care units, all of them have one thing in common. All senior care facilities must prioritize proper medication management. This article will focus on a few of the most effective ways to do so.

Leverage the Power of Technology

It used to be the case that the only way to organize and distribute medications for residents of senior living facilities was to have a nurse do all of the work by hand. Given how many medications elderly Americans usually take, this process was immensely time-consuming. Capsa Healthcare’s Automated Dispensing Cabinets have changed all that by making it easier to keep medications organized, safe, and accessible when they’re needed.

Prioritize Accuracy

There’s a second reason that senior care facilities are turning to automated medication dispensing cabinets, and it’s that this new technology can help to reduce instances of human error. Given recent studies showing that up to 92% of nursing homes make medication errors, some of which are serious enough to require intervention, prioritizing the accurate distribution of medications is essential. Nurses shouldn’t have to bear the full weight of keeping track of handfuls of medications for a dozen or more residents.

Ensure Regular Distribution Timing

The window for accurate administration of most medications is relatively loose, and nurses usually have up to one hour before and after the particular time when their patients usually take their medications to administer them safely. If it’s difficult for nurses to ensure that the residents of long-term care facilities are getting their medications on time, it’s time to consider hiring more nurses. Jeopardizing residents’ safety through inconsistent medication administration is not an option.

Keep Track of Labs

Many medications require routine lab work and subsequent dose adjustments. Around 10% of American nursing home residents take warfarin, to offer just one example, which requires routine testing of INR to avoid major bleeding. According to some measures, these residents spend less than 50% of their time, on average, outside of the crucial medication’s therapeutic range. Using a computerized system that keeps track of current INR levels would prevent up to 30% of warfarin-related adverse events.

Get Serious About Drug Diversion

Drug diversion can occur in any healthcare setting, but it’s an especially prevalent problem in senior care communities. Avoiding the theft of controlled substances requires a multi-pronged approach. Using a locked dispensing cabinet is a good start, but staff members must also be instructed on how to spot instances of drug diversion and should have a clear path for reporting those incidents.

It’s Time to Make Some Changes

The administrators at senior care facilities aren’t always fully aware of issues pertaining to medication administration. They usually hear about only those issues that are severe enough to warrant taking action against the responsible nurse. Instead of waiting until an adverse event or instance of serious drug diversion occurs, administrators should start making positive changes now by implementing new technologies and employee training protocols.

Bryan Cunningham

Zombie maven. Musicaholic. Friendly student. Unapologetic organizer. Hipster-friendly internet geek.

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