When it comes to taking medications on time and in the right amounts, we tend to rely on memory. If forgetfulness is an issue, or a chronic condition or disability makes remembering a challenge, staying on track often falls to family, friends or outside caregivers.
Kimberley Pharmacist Michelle Gray with Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy Remedy’s RX says East Kootenay families and caregivers have a new ally that helps patients stay on track and can reduce hospitalization due to improper medication usage.
Named “spencer,” this automated, interactive pill dispenser removes the guesswork for patients and their caregivers. Gray’s is the first pharmacy in the Kootenays to make it available for clients.
“It really helps people stay at home longer and manage their medications better,” Michelle says. “This can provide family members with peace of mind that their loved ones are automatically being reminded to take their meds. If the patient doesn’t take their medications or doesn’t hear it, the reminder gets louder.”
In addition, spencer will alert both the pharmacy and connected family members and health care team through a mobile phone app to let them know that medications have not been taken. Timely follow up with the client can then take place. “It allows you to quickly determine your loved one’s compliance and communicate that to their physician, so they’re aware of how things are going,” Michelle says.
4 reasons to welcome spencer at home:
- Pharmacy a key player on this team – As part of the patient’s health network, the pharmacy receives an alert if the person is late taking their medication. The pharmacist is connected to the patient’s support people and can quickly encourage a home visit if need be. The pharmacist also does a full medication review – prescription and non-prescription – and helps investigate when meds appear to be negatively interacting, Michelle says.
- No frustrating blister packs – With spencer distributing the right amount of pills needed at one time, there’s no more struggling to open individual packages. In addition, there is no limit to how many times medications can be administered, thus decreasing potential drug interactions. spencer will remind the client of other medications that aren’t in the medication pouches as well, like insulin, nitro patches, etc.
- The testing has been done – spencer’s U.S. manufacturer not only tested its effectiveness in real-life situations, studies show that getting a person’s medications under control helps reduce related hospital visits.
- No need to buy/rent the machine – Gray’s will loan the devices for patients on Pharmacare who are taking meds regularly, and arranges for a regular weekly delivery to keep the machine stocked.
While spencer may not be the solution for patients with severe dementia, it can be a good in-between step that allows people to stay in their own home a little longer, Michelle says. To find out more, call 250-427-0038 or drop by the pharmacy on 304th Street at Highway 95 in Kimberley. Or check out their Facebook page.