This List That Could Help Save Your Life

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Keeping an accurate list of medications you take at home is good for you and for your doctors.

Just how important is it to keep an accurate list of home medications? According to Robert Linkenheimer, DO, medical director of the Doylestown Hospital Emergency Department, "It's really, really, really important."

"That list of medications is as important as the patient's past medical history and is also as important as the reason why they came to the hospital," says Dr. Linkenheimer.

Importance of Keeping a Medication List

  • Helps you and your family remember all the medicines you are currently taking, the dosages and frequency
  • Helps physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers make sure that the medicines can be taken safely together
  • Helps your doctor determine if illness or symptoms are related to medicine you are taking
  • If you need to be admitted to a hospital, the list helps ensure you'll be given the medicines you take regularly at home (if appropriate for treatment). The list also provides hospital pharmacists the information they need to determine possible drug interactions with any new prescriptions you may be prescribed.

Managing Your Medication List

There are a few key points to remember about keeping and using the home medications list.

  • Include all prescription medications, over–the-counter (OTC) products, herbals, vitamins and dietary supplements. Also include topical creams, ointments, medication pens, patches, as well as eye and ear drops and include medicines you take on occasion (like a rescue inhaler).
  • Keep the list of medications with you at all times, and give a copy to a loved one or let a loved one know where to find the list. Dr. Linkenheimer suggests keeping a copy of the list wherever you keep your insurance cards. It's also a good idea to keep a copy at home.
  • Make sure the list is accurate and up to date. Remember to adjust your list when you start or stop taking medications.
  • Include the dose, when (what time of day) and how you take each medicine (with water, etc.).
  • Parents of young children: Keep an accurate list of medications that your children are taking. Note any allergies your child has.
  • Children of aging parents: Make sure you have a copy of your parent's home medication list, or know where to find it.

In the U.S., more than 60% of adults age 65 and older take at least five medications each week, and 15% take at least 10, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

If you find yourself needing to go to the ER and don't have a list on hand, place all your medications in a bag and bring them with you.

Many doctor's offices will have a list of your medications on file, and can print this for you. But many people see more than one physician. And it might be a long time between doctor's visits. So it's important to keep an accurate, up-to-date list for yourself.

You are an important member of your healthcare team. Keeping a good home medication list and sharing it with your team is just one way to help ensure you receive the best care possible. There are several online resources where you can download a medication record to fill out and copy.

Online Resources for Medication List

Pharmacy Services at Doylestown Hospital

Need a prescription filled as the result of a hospital stay? The ShopRite Pharmacy located in the North Lobby of Doylestown Hospital can help. Visit pharmacy services or call 215-348-1503 for more information.

myHealthDoylestown Personal Medical Record

For convenient online access of your Doylestown Hospital medical records, visit myHealthDoylestown, which includes a list of medications prescribed during your Doylestown Hospital stay.

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