Home Device Helps Avoid Mixed-Up Meds: January 5, 2013

Like many adult kids, Sharon Struck worries about her parents. Her mom, Doris, suffers from a handful of chronic health conditions.

"I would say she takes about 18 different medications right now for different health issues and it's made a big deal," says Sharon Struck, daughter.

It is a big deal. Improperly managing medications is not uncommon when you're counting multiple pills at several intervals throughout the day and night.

"There are a lot of people now who are having difficulty taking their medications because they are on so many medications. They forget to take them or maybe mix them up when they are trying to take them," says Cathy Brady, clinical manger with Lee Memorial Health System.

It's one of the top ten reasons the elderly are admitted to the hospital. It's also why caregivers are embracing a new solution. An automated system, that can dispense meds without the guess work.

"This is the button that goes off any time it's time for them to take their medicine. So generally the medicine is filled by the caregiver, this is closed and locked and it's going to come on and say it's time to take your medications. So what they do they get up walk over push this red button then med dispenser comes down here," says Brady.

The system works off a grid, much like those plastic pill minders. It handles up to 60 cups of medication.

"This is something that actually can keep people in their home and keep them out of the facility because this may be the only reason they would have to go anywhere else," says Brady.

Caregivers are notified about missed doses- giving them a degree of oversight while giving patients a measure of independence.

"Mom knows she's getting the right stuff and she's getting it at the right time. There's no way of forgetting it and no way to get the wrong pills. It's great. Makes me feel wonderful," says Struck.