“Medication adherence” has become a big topic of discussion. A quick Google search of medication adherence as it relates to rising healthcare costs will lead readers to thousands of news articles.
In this article I will discuss some tips on how to help your child adhere to his/her medication regimen.
1. Pen and paper – If you don’t write it down it never happened. Write down the time and day the medicine was given.
2. Set the alarm– Set an alarm on your phone so that you can remember to give your child their medication.
3. Phone apps– There are some phone apps that can be easily downloaded on your smart phone to help track when medications should be administered.
4. Pill box organizers– Using weekly or monthly pill box organizers can be very helpful for some parents. Discuss with your child’s pediatrician to find out if this is a suitable option for you and your child. First, pill box organizers can’t be used if your child is on liquid medications. Second, the pediatrician will need to discuss with his or her staff to ensure that this can be done safely and effectively by the parent. Lastly, the use of pill box organizers is not suitable for parent’s that can not keep both children and adults out of reach from inappropriate use of the medicine. Appropriate education of families needs to be done by both prescriber, pharmacist, and nurse to ensure everyone is on the same page.
5. Print off a calendar month– Work with your child’s healthcare team on using a printed calendar month that denotes time, day, and dose to administer to the child. This visual cue will ensure that your child gets the right medicine on the right days. I typically see this method used with kids that are being tapered up, down, or off medicine.
6. Bottle for school use– If the medication is being administered both at home and at school then you can discuss with your pediatrician about having a prescription written in a manner to have the pharmacy dispense a bottle for both home and school use. For example, a child is to take the medicine at 8am, noon, and as needed at 4pm. The prescriber requests for the pharmacist to dispense a quantity of 90 tablets. The prescriber can write on the prescription to dispense 60 tablets in a bottle for home use and 30 tablets in a bottle for school use.
Remember to do what works. Use one of the methods or a combination of the methods that I’ve outlined. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that your child receives the medicine the way it’s been prescribed.