For this assignment, I interviewed a family member about his home medications and was not completely surprised by their limited knowledge about their medications. This particular family member has type 2 diabetes mellitus and was taking metformin up until a year ago when his physician switched him to an insulin auto injector pen. He was able to tell me the names and dosage(s) of his medication only after walking over to the refrigerator to retrieve his medication. And upon further inquiry, he confirmed that he only kept unopened/unused insulin pens in the refrigerator. He was able to tell me the purpose of each insulin and how to go about administering it. He was able to list side effects and adverse reactions, and when to seek medical care. Although he knew about following a healthy diet, he confessed that it is not always consistent and that he didn’t always check his blood sugar; and sometimes even went off of “how” he felt. It was at this point that I switched from interviewing to providing education regarding the importance of checking his blood sugar regularly and maintaining a consistent carbohydrate diet in order to avoid big fluctuations in his blood sugar throughout the day. In addition to insulin, he is also taking Statins and antihypertensives – although he did not know their names off the top of his head, and was only able to tell me a few side effects for each. In addition to providing education on these medications, I also suggested [insisted] that he type a list of all of his regular medications on his iPhone notes (in alphabetical order) with the following information:
Trade name/Generic name (purpose) dosage, frequency
At least this way, he will have easy access to a list of all of his current medications regardless of where he is. I plan to follow up on this suggestion next time I see/speak to him to make sure this gets done, even if I have to do it for him at first.