Administering Medication At Home

The nurse is responsible for educating the patient on how to self-medicate at home by providing the do's and don'ts of administering the medication. The nurse must explain the following:

• Store the medication properly. Some medication, such as insulin, must be refrigerated.

• Always label the date and time when the medication was opened.

• Keep the medication in a locked cabinet away from the reach of children.

• Explain the reason the patient is taking the medication and how often the medication is given.

• Explain what to do if the patient misses a dose.

• Describe the signs and symptoms of the toxic effect of the medication if the patient takes more than the prescribed dose.

• Describe the signs and symptoms of side effects and adverse reactions that might occur when taking the medication.

• Explain negative interactions the medication might have with certain foods.

• Develop a system for self-medication for patients who have poor eyesight and decreased mental capacity. For example, the patient can use specially marked containers for each day of the week. A relative or friend can fill those containers with the appropriate medication. The patient is then taught to open the proper container each day.

• Give the patient a list of medication, dose, and frequency and the name of the prescriber so the patient can keep the list in a wallet or pocketbook.

• Suggest that the patient wear a MedicAlert bracelet or other jewelry that identifies the patient as having allergies or chronic illnesses.

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