Know your medications and health history
Special to the Appeal
This story is adapted from the Fall/Winter 2018/2019 edition of Peak NV magazine, a specialty publication of the Sierra Nevada Media Group and its affiliated media organizations: Nevada Appeal, The Record-Courier, Lahontan Valley News and Northern Nevada Business View. Go here to view a digital version of the magazine.
Have you ever been at your doctor’s office and had difficulty remembering your medications? What about your health history? Knowing this information can play a vital role in taking control of your health.
Because you know your medical routine best, it is highly recommended that you have your personal medication written down and kept with you at all times. Keeping an updated list of your daily prescriptions not only gives you peace of mind, but can also help a caregiver take proper precautions to ensure your safety in an emergency situation.
Anna Anders, Chief Nursing Officer at Carson Tahoe Health, says having the information written down is the easiest and most efficient way to keep track of your medications.
“We don’t want patients to physically bring all their prescriptions into the healthcare setting for several reasons,” Anders said. “First, there is the possibility these prescriptions may get lost during the patient’s stay. Additionally, patients may feel compelled to take their own medications while being treated, which could lead to double dosing.
“To avoid these pitfalls, it is essential to maintain an easily accessible list, keeping everyone on the same page and further ensuring patient safety.”
Take a good inventory
Writing down your current list doesn’t mean simply documenting the drug name. Your prescription inventory should also contain a few other elements that are important for your treatment, such as:
Drug Name and Strength
Dose with Time of Day
Reason for Taking
This may seem like a lot of information to consistently keep track of, but many drugs come in a variety of dosages. If a patient or provider is unaware of the correct dosage, the patient is in danger of taking an incorrect amount during a hospital stay.
Very often, the physician caring for the patient in the hospital is not the patient’s primary care provider. Therefore, he or she is not familiar with the patient’s medical history.
Additionally, it is important to know when the dose is due, how often it is taken, why it is prescribed and when the last dose was taken. All of these individual facts help protect the patient against potential medication errors.
Also, we recommend listing over-the-counter medicines such as: vitamins, herbal remedies, nutrition pills, inhalers, blood factors, IV solutions, and IV nutrition.
Other helpful and important facts to document include: personal information, an emergency contact, physician information, pharmacies, surgical history, immunizations, and known allergies.
Don’t fret – there is help
Although all of this can seem overwhelming, there are resources to make it a bit easier.
For example, you can use a simple pocket medication card to better organize personal health information, which fits perfectly in a purse or wallet.
The pocket medication card allows you to write down specific information, so it’s all in one convenient place. Knowing this is with you can relieve the stress of remembering it spur of the moment.
It also could make a difference in how emergency personnel administers care if you are ever in an emergency situation.
Furthermore, it’s a good idea to let your emergency contact person know about the pocket medication card and its location. Writing down your medication is just one way you can be proactive in taking charge of your health.
If you have any questions about your medication, you should always contact your primary care provider.
This article was provided by Carson Tahoe Health. Go to http://www.carsontahoe.com/besthealth to learn more about this and other topics.