WHAT IS A DOSETTE BOX AND HOW TO USE ONE TO MANAGE YOUR MEDICATION
According to Age UK, in England more than one in 10 people who are aged 65 and over take at least eight different prescribed medications every week. This increases to one in four for those people aged 85 and over.
Many older people may struggle to manage their medications alone. Some may forget to take medications, if, for example, they are living with dementia. Or they may simply not be managing to take them at the right time. If you live alone, getting to the pharmacy may be difficult. For those taking multiple medications it may be confusing as to which to take at the right time. Also, a lack of mobility and independence impact a person’s ability to manage medication.
There are many health issues that can arise from not taking medication as instructed. You may miss the best window of time to take your medication. For example, if you have asthma not using your inhaler when needed may mean you cannot prevent irritated airways. If you do not finish a dose of antibiotics, it may not necessarily treat the infection, or it may come back. For those taking anti-depressants you may experience withdrawal effects, like anxiety if not taken on time.
A dosette box is a compact plastic box with different compartments for storing medication for different times of the day, and days of the week. Here we explore what is a dosette box used for and how they can be used to effectively manage medication.
WHAT IS A DOSETTE BOX?
A dosette box is a tablet organiser broken down into small compartments. These compartments are labelled for different times of the day. Each box contains a week’s worth of medication. The clear date and time labels make it easy for a person to remember to take their medications correctly.
Dosette boxes come in different structures. The most common box is composed of four rows that represent daily dosing times. For example, morning, afternoon, evening and night. Each row then has seven compartments or slots. They represent the days of the week. This gives a total of 28 slots. Each dosette box provides enough medication for seven days a week.
If you or your loved one has a complicated medication regime, a pharmacist may decide to provide your pills in a dosette box for ease. If the pharmacist does provide your prescription in this way, they will include a card/chart. This contains dispensing labels and a description of the supplied drugs.
When choosing which medication dosette box would best meet your needs, consult your pharmacist. They will be able to provide the right advice based on your needs.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING A DOSETTE BOX?
There are many benefits to using a dosette box to organise medication and minimise the risk of your loved one not taking their medication:
A simple and convenient way to store and administer medication
People can keep track in a visual way of what was taken at specific times of the day
Reduces confusion – this particularly helps people with memory problems
It enables family members and/or carers to monitor whether the person has taken their medication
Cost-effective to purchase
Can all be kept in one place safely, so they are easy to access
Boxes are sealed and tamper-proof
If your loved one is living with a specialist condition like dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, heart disease, or is recovering from a stroke, it is likely they will have a complex medication regime. By investing in a dosette box, you can help them to manage their medications more effectively. This avoids the dangers of not taking medication as instructed.
For those that have a home care service from a professional carer, having a dosette box means medication management is straightforward and organised. Either the family member can make the box up, or the professional carer can ensure it is done and ready for use. For family members, this gives them peace of mind that the carer knows what should be taken and when. The approach used should always be documented in a person’s care plan and monitored.
WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO USE A DOSETTE BOX?
It is important that a dosette box is filled correctly. It should also be filled regularly, say on a Sunday ready for the next week. If you are supporting a loved one who is not able to do this themselves, it is important you support them to do this or do it for them.
The best way to use a dosette box is by incorporating its use into your or a loved one’s daily routine. This will help you or a loved one to remember to take the right dose at the same time each day. Use daily tasks as fixed points during the day to remind you/them to take medication. For example, taking morning medication after getting dressed or brushing teeth. Lunchtime and evening medication after a meal (many medications require you to take them on a full stomach). Bedtime medication is best taken just before going to sleep.
If you are caring for a friend or family member, where your loved one keeps their medication is important. Being kept in an obvious location means they are reminded to take medication.
If you are your loved one’s primary carer, make sure you familiarise yourself with their medication and their routine. Monitoring medication for older people is critical to maintaining their health and overall wellbeing. Using a dosette box will mean monitoring is easier. It will be obvious if they are not sticking to their regime.
WHAT MEDICATION CAN GO IN A DOSETTE BOX?
It’s important to remember that not all medication is suitable to go into a dosette box. Dosette boxes are also known as pill organisers for this exact reason – they are intended to be used for tablets and pills that are taken orally, rather than creams, lotions or soluble tablets.
In order for a dosette box to properly manage medication, it must be a medication that is intended to be taken at regular intervals. For instance, every day or on certain days of the week.
Any prescription that must be taken on an ‘as-needed’ basis, such as medication for nausea or migraines, cannot be efficiently managed by a dosette box. You should also be aware of medications that should not be taken out of their original packaging such as soluble tablets or medication that must be kept at a certain temperature.
HOW DOES A LIVE-IN CARER HELP MANAGE MEDICATION?
We have been providing high-quality live-in care services for over 10 years. Our service enables people to live safely and independently in the comfort of their own homes whilst receiving the support they need to lead a full and enriching life. All our professional carers are trained in medications management. This means that they understand the importance of your loved one’s regime and are equipped to administer and manage it, no matter how complex.
We are the only dedicated live-in care provider to use an online community to manage health outcomes. Using innovative digital technology, family members, carers and care teams can monitor clients’ health effectively. This includes managing medications proactively. Safety measures built into the technology ensure accurate medication management. We have seen a significant reduction in error rates using this technology when compared with a care home.
Our professional carers understand the importance of dosette boxes and how to use them. They will keep your loved one’s medication organised, which reduces the risk of missing medications throughout the day. They will also monitor medications so they do not run out, working closely with the GP surgery and pharmacy to ensure they are dispensed on time. Your loved one’s medication regime is carefully documented in the care plan. This is then regularly reviewed by a care manager.
Below are some links to useful resources that can help understand the best way to manage medications: