At 87 years old, it takes a lot of medications to keep Doris Low going. More than you can count on both hands.
“Yeah in the morning I think I get four pills. At night time I think I probably take about eight,” says Doris Low.
That would be hard for anyone to keep track of. Her daughter believes mom has had more than one medical mix-up.
“My mom was hospitalized a couple of times, actually three times and it was mysterious and no one could figure out why she was not feeling well and having to go to the hospital. And I started to think about all of the meds she was taking and try to keep track them all, and it was sort of an ah-ha moment,” says Sharon Stuck, daughter.
Turns out keeping track of multiple meds is a growing problem nationwide, especially among the chronically ill and elderly.
“One of the top ten reasons people go back into the hospital is because of medication mismanagement. They are either taking too many, not taking enough, or their not taking it at the right times,” says Cathy Brady, Lee Memorial Home Health clinical manager.
To address the problem, Lee Memorial Health System is offering automated medication dispensers. The first one went to Low.
So it this it right here? “This is the machine and when its time for you to take your medicine it says ‘press the button’ and the medication rolls right out here,” says Low.
The patient or caregiver preloads the machine, it holds a months worth of pills. It’s then programmed to deliver a cup of meds at predetermined times.
“If they don’t take their meds what happens is it goes into what’s called a holding area in the machine and it calls the care giver and alerts the care given they failed to take their medication,” says Brady.
The system is giving Low a measure of independence and giving Stuck peace of mind.
“Oh yeah definitely, I love it. It’s great for me. I just fill it up, I know it’s done and I know everything is correct,” says Stuck.