Managing medications for a patient can be a constant and confusing task for a caregiver. Medications have long names that are difficult to pronounce. Directions for dosage can be difficult to read and comprehend. Your patient may use various pharmacies for prescriptions, so getting a refill from the correct pharmacy at the right time may be another challenge for a caregiver. Then, if the patient is left to take medications unsupervised, caregivers may wonder if and when the medication was actually taken.
Smart Dispensing Systems
Medications are important to the health of the patient, though, so it may be worthwhile to look at assistance in managing medications. Some patients are capable of taking their medications, pills, capsules or liquids, with little assistance other than organizing them by the day in a labeled pill box. Other patients, particularly those with dementia, memory and cognition issues, and blindness, might need more help to identify the pill, to read the directions for administration, to organize the administration by day and time, and to remember to take the medication. It can be overwhelming for some patients, and a mistake can be harmful.
Caregivers have always been the “smart” dispensers of medications, and they will always have a crucial role. However, now there are tech devices to help us with this. Here are just a few of the more well-known “smart” devices for managing medications.
Pria is a Black & Decker product that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify the patient through facial recognition and to dispense up to 28 doses of medication. The small, robot-faced tech device costs about $300, and must be set up to deliver the pills at the correct time and date by a caregiver or “filler.” The Pria can chat with the patient, answer some questions, and show weather up-dates. A chime sounds from the device and from the app when a pill must be taken. The Pria will deliver only tablets and capsules, not gels or liquid forms. Because the pills are accessible to a patient, the Pria may not be appropriate for patients with dementia or cognition issues. The Pria does use a PIN code or facial recognition to identify the intended patient, adding a layer of security. See the review of the Pria.
MedaCube is another pill dispenser tech device that reminds patients to take pills at a certain time with a certain dosage. It can hold a ninety-day supply of sixteen different pills. A recorded message from a loved one or a chime notifies the patient to take medicine. There is an option to use MedaCube with Wi-Fi connection or with a built-in cellular connection. MedaCube’s web portal keeps records of the user’s medication history and reports on pill inventory and patient compliance. It is an expensive device costing over $1,000, but there are monthly payment plans and refurbished used devices available. Read a review of the MedaCube.
Learn more about Pill Identification.
MedMinder is a medicine dispenser that provides visual, audio and phone alerts as reminders to patient. As an optional service, patients’ prescription can be submitted to MedMinder Pharmacy and the medications will be organized and then delivered to the home. For added safety against taking the wrong medication at the wrong time, only the correct compartment will be unlocked at the appropriate time. Refill trays can be filled ahead of time by family members, a pharmacist, or caregiver and placed directly into the MedMinder medication dispenser. MedMinder comes with an emergency call button and bracelet. Using the website, caregivers can program the schedule remotely, set up preferred notifications and review reports. Caregivers will receive detailed reports that show when medications were taken, when trays were refilled and if any medications were missed. Several product and service packages are available at different prices. The MedMinder system costs about $50 monthly. See the review at MedMinder.
Hero is a medication management system that has an app and a device, and an optional refill and delivery service. The stylish device can handle up to a ninety day supply of pills of ten different kinds that are auto-sorted and dispensed on a schedule. The patient is reminded through beeping, lights, and an app notification to be read. Missed doses are reported to a caregiver. The app notifies the caregiver when supplies are low. Hero membership costs $29.99 monthly with a $99.99 initiation fee and requires a 12-month commitment. See the review of Hero.
The old pillbox of yesterday is out- of-date now. There are devices that can help schedule and remind and report to help us. Technology in caregiving is constantly changing, and changes that help seniors and their caregivers stay healthy and safe at home are always welcome.