Female doctor giving medicines to senior paitent

One of the most critical aspects of recovery is taking medications as directed. MedStar Health Home Care’s registered nurses help patients make sure they are taking the right medicine and the right dosage, at the right time, and according to the doctor’s orders. This includes organizing medicines and setting up reminders to keep patients on track.

Improper use of medications

Our nurses partner with each patient’s doctor to make sure medicines are working and controlling symptoms appropriately. If a patient’s health status changes, the nurse will contact the doctor immediately. This allows the patient’s care team to make changes in medication or adjust a doctor’s orders in a timely manner.

Improper use of medications can cause:

  • Negative symptoms and side effects

  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Increased risk for falls
  • Readmissions to the hospital or nursing home

Medication management services

Medication management services include:

  • Assistance in developing a medication schedule
  • Review of medication regimen
  • Create a complete list of the patient’s prescribed and over-the-counter medicines
  • Educate patient and/or caregiver on proper dosage, frequency, and side effects

  • Evaluate response to medications and effectiveness
  • Communicate with patient's doctor for optimum outcome

Medicine safety tips

  • Check the label and expiration date on all medicines before taking
  • Keep all caps on medicine bottles and away from children and pets
  • Do not mix medicines in the same bottle
  • Keep medicine, including pills and IV bags, away from sunlight
  • Store medicines at the correct temperature
  • Tell the visiting nurse, doctor, or pharmacist if you see any changes in the medicine’s color, size, or smell
  • Keep the Poison Control Center phone number (800-222-1222) near the phone
  • Refrigerated Medicines:
    • Keep medicines at the correct temperature in the refrigerator
    • Make sure the light in the refrigerator is working
    • Do not freeze them
    • Keep cold foods and medicine away from each other
    • If several medicines are in the refrigerator, keep them away from each other
  • Keep an up-to-date list of current medications

Keep a medicine list

Always keep a list of the medicines that you are taking. Use this Medicine list worksheet to keep track of medications.

  • Add new medicines if the doctor adds a new prescription
  • Make a note if the doctor changes the dose or the way the medicine is taken
  • Cross off old medicines if the doctor says to stop taking them
  • Take the medicine list with you when visiting a doctor or going to the hospital