Choosing the Right Medication Packaging for Your Community
With a full plate of work to do and decisions to make for your senior living community, medication packaging is probably not something you’ve paid much attention to. But the right packaging for your residents’ prescribed medications can help you save time and money, so it’s a decision worth deliberating on — at least for a few minutes.
Here’s a quick rundown on why medication packaging makes a difference and how to choose the option that’s right for your residents and your caregiving staff.
How Does Medication Packaging Make Staff More Efficient?
Packaging medications by resident makes it much easier for staff to administer a resident’s necessary drugs without delay. Staff members no longer need to access bottles or large containers to extract single doses of medications. Instead, they pick up a blister pack, strip pack or calendar card to see the resident’s name, date and time for the medications to be taken, and a list of each medication and dosage in the pack.
Opening the individual packs at the time the drugs are administered to the resident is much quicker and easier for staff, so they can assist all the residents who need help with medications and move on to other tasks.
Plus, packaged medication fits more neatly on a medication cart and is much simpler to organize. Staff members can organize the medications in alphabetical order by resident name and find what they need without a long search.
How Does Medication Packaging Help Prevent Medication Inaccuracies?
Individual packs of medications that are clearly labeled with the resident’s name, the date and time to administer and the medications and dosage help prevent many kinds of mistakes that can happen in a community setting.
Medications aren’t accidentally taken or administered twice, and it’s easier to ensure they are ingested on the right schedule. When multiple medications are packaged into one blister, cup or pack, then it’s much more difficult to accidentally skip administering one or more pills.
Color coded and labeled medication packs also help prevent the problem of giving one resident’s medications to another — a mistake that can be easy to make when extracting medications from bottles or larger containers. Individual pills are also much less likely to be tampered with, lost or stolen, which can sometimes happen in even the best and most security-conscious facilities. That means residents get exactly the medication they need, when they need it — no doubled or skipped doses.
How Does Medication Packaging Improve Resident Outcomes?
Most importantly, the clear labeling on medication packs help ensure the right drugs get to the right person so there are no mistakes that impact residents’ health.
Easy-to-administer medication packs clearly labeled with the time to give can also help make medication schedules much more consistent for residents. Medications that are delayed by an hour or two can mean residents are left in pain or at risk. When caregivers can get medications to residents on the right schedule, those residents are more likely to thrive under their prescription regimen.
As well, individual medication packs are more hygienic — no one outside the pharmacy has touched the medication inside until it is administered. This can help prevent the spread of germs and viruses.
What Medication Packaging Options Are Available?
There are several different options for packaging medication in pill format. Mac’s LTC Pharmacy Solutions can walk you through these options in more detail to help you decide on the right one — or the right mix — for your needs.
Bingo Cards or Blister Packs
Cards can contain single doses or all the pills that a resident needs to take at a given time. Each individual blister or “pill cup” is labeled with the resident’s name, medications and dosages. The blisters or cups are easy to punch through and extract the pills, but strong enough to protect against accidental opening or punctures.
Strip packaging gives you the option of putting every medication that needs to be taken at a specific time into one pack. Typically, packs are labeled with the resident’s name, the date and time it is to be taken and the contents — which exact medications and dosages — are included in each pack. Caregivers can easily remove the pack that’s due to be taken and administer the pills to the right resident. Strip packaging is ideal for multi-dose medications but can also be used for single doses as needed.
Multi-dose calendar cards are a good way to package medication for residents who need several pills at different times of day. Calendar cards can package medications together by the time of day that it needs to be taken — morning, noon, evening, bedtime — and by the day of the week. More independent residents can be more responsible for their own medications and caregivers can ensure the right medications were taken at the right time. Or, caregivers can easily see which medications are due. The cover on the weekly pill pack also protects medication from light.
How Can You Make the Best Choice in Medication Packaging for Your Community?
Mac’s LTC Pharmacy Solutions is well-suited to customizing a medication solution for your senior living community. We have the experience that comes from working with many facilities like yours and we offer several types of single-dose and multi-dose medication packaging. We can talk to you and learn more about your unique community, then help you make the best decision for what works best for your residents and caregivers.
Not Sure Which is Right For You?
If you’re not immediately sure which medication packaging you need, let us do the work for you. Contact us and we’ll help you find the solution that is right for your community.