Friday, April 30, 2010

Forum Focus: Medication Management

Heath Care Group COO Todd Shetter welcomes caregivers to the town hall forum.

We had an excellent turnout yesterday at the Town Hall Forum titled "Caregiver Tools for Survival," sponsored by Health Care Group and our organization, The George G. Glenner Alzheimer's Family Centers, Inc. The event also was supported by AARP and Southern Caregiver Resource Center.

Caregivers from throughout San Diego County gathered at the Ramada Inn Conference Center in Kearny Mesa to gain valuable advice from experts on Alzheimer's behavior and medication management and transititioning from home care to residential care.

Throughout the coming week we'll share some of the information in those sessions, starting today with medication management.

Dr. Ron Belville, a pharmacist who has worked in the long-term care industry for 35 years, stressed the need to make a list of every medication and over-the-counter remedy, even vitamins, that someone is taking. Note any changes in behaviors and bring that list to both the patient's medical doctor and pharmacist to validate that specific medication schedule.

Geriatric psychiatrist Dan Sewell warned that some medications used to treat one stage of dementia may not be necessary in another, advanced stage. Therefore it's important for caregivers to regularly review all medications with primary care physicians and/or pharmacists.

Dr. Belville also noted that most pharmacists will create daily medication packets upon request, and usually for a small fee. This means those who are time-pressed or concerned about getting each day's medications right can now receive some professional assistance in the form of prearranged pills in weekly or monthly segmented plastic containers.