It’s a pivotal point for all caregivers, especially those caring for someone with dementia. And at first I suspected there would be an easy fix, but it was too late for that.
Dad had become very confused and erratic to the point where I was so overwhelmed I didn’t know what to do but call 911. When he was taken to the hospital, the doctors told me to bring in all the bottles of his medications. I found at least three dozens of bottles of pills stuck in every nook and cranny of his room. It was obvious that none of the medications had been taken correctly judging by the labels, dates, and remaining supplies.
I thought the hospital would get his medication regulated and he would be able to come home. That didn’t happen. He went from the hospital, to a nursing home, to memory care, to a nursing home again before dying last September.
For my dad, it would have been impossible to regulate his medications anyway at that point because he was too much for one person to handle. He had behavioral-variant frontotemporal degeneration, a disease which causes its victims to act outrageously and sometimes violently. The disease was in the late stages even then.
But for many caregivers, regulating a loved one’s medication is an easy way to keep them happy and healthy for a long time. When people have dementia, or simply get up in years and become forgetful, remembering when to take which medications becomes overwhelming.
An online pharmacy called divvyDOSE offers a remarkably effective solution, and I wish it had been around for dad many years ago. divvyDOSE not only pre-sorts doses into convenient packages that come on a perforated roll, but it also offers a “caregiver feature” that allows caregivers to make sure loved ones are taking their meds properly.
When it’s time to take a medication, a mobile phone app will notify the patient. The patient clicks a button telling divvyDOSE that the dose was taken. If they don’t, the caregiver will be notified about 30 minutes later. That gives them a heads up to give the patient a nudge, a phone call, a text, even a personal visit, reminding them to take their medication. Likewise, when the patient clicks the button saying they’ve taken the medication, the caregiver is notified for that too, giving them peace of mind. divvyDOSE calls it “a friendly nanny.”
Secondly, and I personally think this is so important, once the patient authorizes someone as their caregiver, that caregiver has total access to the account. So say for example an elderly person with dementia has an Rx for Depakote changed to Seroquel. The doctor may have written that Depakote prescription with three refills. In theory, the doctor will let the pharmacy know that the Depakote prescription was stopped, and now the patient is prescribed Seroquel. In reality, that doesn’t happen. The original prescription often doesn’t get cancelled, and the pharmacy doesn’t realize that. The Depakote keeps getting filled in addition to the Seroquel until no refills are left on the Depakote. This can cause serious problems.
This turned into a nightmare situation with my dad. With the divvyDOSE caregiver function, the caregiver can go right into the account, either online or over the telephone, and make sure a medication is marked as stopped.
Even if someone is at a point where they may not be capable of operating the app feature or even a cell phone, this second caregiver feature is a lifesaver in and of itself.
In fact, 125,000 deaths per year occur in the U.S. due to people not taking their medications correctly. That’s the equivalent of three 747s going down every day.
We know as caregivers that being proactive and getting involved early in our loved one’s care can save a lot of grief down the road, and also put off placement in an expensive facility, which the patient themselves usually hopes never will happen.
To find out more about divvyDOSE, go to www.divvydose.com or call 844-693-4889.