I just came across this post and can't believe no one has replied as of yet...so here is a lil sumpn' sumpn' I do for my patients.
I pt teach the importance of their knowledge of the meds they are taking. I am absolutely amazed at the ignorace many pts have regarding their dx and meds. I can't tell you how many pts have come in c/o of HA, high B/P, etc..."Well I stopped my Atenolol a week ago, I ran out and it has been so hot to get out and about." As with most clinics we are stocked with many drug samples and dole them out in month worth supplies for some elderly, due to cost and conveinence for the pt.
I stress the importance of their knowledge of their dx. The S&S to report, the working of the disease, and the importance of the Rx and not stopping without consulting the Dr.
Because the elderly are commonly on so many meds, it is confusing to me let alone what they must think! I have them bring in all their meds in Rx bottles, (even vitamins etc) and then we go through each and compare with last Dr. noted med orders to make sure all is accurate. Then I tell the pt to get a recipe card and write each med and it's dose and sig. I tell them to carry with them in their wallet. That way if they go to another dr they have an accurate list and can be easily accessed.
Pt ed can not be stressed enough. Pts on B/P meds, Thyroid Rx, Glucophage/insulin are at high risk for errors and really need the time spent covering the bases. We also have pt info that stresses the Do's and Don'ts with these Dx's and Rx's, that we give out for home refresher/refrence.
Working in a clinic offers me such a wide variety of pts and health issues. As an Ortho nurse, I am also able to keep up on HTN, Diabetic, etc pts and keep those skills sharp. Just because 'Bertha' is seeing us for a dist rad fx, doesn't take away from the fact that I need to know she is on Coumadin, Type I Diabetic, and suffering from depression. They all play an integral role in her complete care.
My experience with pts DC'ing thier own meds, the #1 reason why was cost. By supplementing them with samples or giving info on Indigent Programs available, hopefully they cont meds as directed as per their dr.