Medication dispenser keeps it simple

BJ Larson’s mother-in-law had been living with her family for years when they became concerned she would need to make a change. BJ works as the director of spiritual health at Fairview Ridges Hospital, and her husband and daughters were also gone from home in the daytime. While her mother-in-law could be home alone, she was struggling to take her Parkinson’s medications on time. It was affecting her health and her family worried every time they were away.

“We tried putting out pills. We put them in cups. We put them in plastic flip-top dispensers. None of that worked. “ explained BJ, “She was missing doses or taking too much. We weren’t able to clearly track what had happened when. ”

Her mother-in-law already had a Fairview Lifeline necklace to call for help if she needed it. BJ learned about leasing a Phillips medication dispenser, which is also offered through Fairview Lifeline.

The dispenser is pre-loaded by a nurse or a family member with up to three weeks of medications at a time, depending on the regimen. The machine gives a verbal prompt at the prescribed time. It repeats the prompt every five minutes until the recipient pushes the flashing red button that dispenses a dose of medicine. It also sets aside any missed doses, and can call a family member if there seems to be a problem. Lifeline leases the machines for $75 per month.

Deb Valley manages the Fairview Lifeline program: “It’s most helpful for people who have a complicated medication schedule. It keeps them on track and as healthy as they can be. But it also works well for people who have beginning memory loss stay in their homes as long as possible.”

“This is exactly the kind of thing we needed. She doesn’t wonder when her next dose is, because it will tell her,” says BJ, “The big thing is the verbal prompt.  That allows her to be home and self-manage her condition with our support and the support of the device.”

For more information about Fairview Lifeline Services, call  866-827-5039.

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