Care Managers are funny creatures, we truly are. From the moment we meet you or the loved older adult in your life, we begin assessing the situation in front of us. We have been taught to do that, so it comes natural to us. We have seen loved ones struggle time and again with all of the new medications on the market, and medication changes that doctors often call for in their patients.
In a world where medications are abundant and available to most everyone that needs them, why are so many medication errors occurring? Medication education should go hand-in-hand when prescribing treatments. The importance of correct medication dosage and one-on-one education for the patient is vital to the patient's health. So who is supposed to do the educating? The doctor that prescribed it, the pharmacists that fill it, or the family member that is supposed to monitor it? This is where Care Management comes in!
Care Managers are crucial in the medication regimen of our clients. Many of our clients want to “self medicate,” and no, this is not referring to pain or anxiety medications. In many cases, our clients want to decide when they should take their daily medications prescribed by their doctor according to "how they are feeling.” This can be detrimental to their health. It isn't completely your loved one's fault, though. The education process happens so quickly, whether in the doctor's office or at pharmacy, they get a 2 minute "consult" about their new medications. Because of that, they truly don’t understand the importance of building doses up in the body to achieve maximum effect, therefore they often end up missing out on the expected outcome.
One of a Care Manager’s roles, along with may others, is to provide education for each of their client's medications. They are to ensure the client, as well as their family members, are actually listening to them and all who are involved understand the importance of each and every medication that they are taking. This, along with monitoring our client for compliance, prevents your loved one from missing or skipping doses of their medications, because they "don't feel like they need it today."
Most Care Managers use the method of having their clients repeat back to them what they teach. This gives us much insight to our clients, assessing if they are capable of remembering what they hear, and if they are able to repeat what they hear. In some cases, we ensure that our clients are able to read the labels on their medication bottles, so that they are taking their regimen as directed. The relationship we develop with our clients is so important. They trust us not to "judge" them, and can be open with us. We try in every possible way to let our clients and their families know we want to keep them as independent as possible! Our clients depend on us to help them maintain healthy and independent living, so when we ask them to "take their medication as prescribed," they understand why they are doing so.
Written By: Care Manager - Melissa Kauffman, RN, CCM
If you are interested in learning more about CAB's Care Management services, contact us today!