Appropriately managing medications can be more challenging for some people if living with physical or cognitive impairments. Occupational therapists can help people manage their medications and may use one or more of the following strategies to help their clients:
teach caregivers strategies and techniques to support participation in medication management
create strategies to integrate medication management into daily routines
support independence in medication management through the implementation of assistive technology and task modification
promoting health literacy and educate clients about medication management strategies
adapt the environment and advocate for modifications that fit the capabilities of the client
Assistive technologies have long been used to help be work around their challenges. Regarding medications, assistive technologies are any piece of equipment that helps people maintain effective dispensing of medications. Let's examine some commonly used medication management assistive technologies in order from least to most technologically advanced.
Pill-Box Organizer: These organizers are a convenient and compact size that manages to schedule weekly medication intake. However, they may be challenging to open for people with fine motor control challenges.
Medication Reminder and Dispensing System: These organizers are similar to the pill-box organizers but use voice or beep alarms to remind users of missed medications.
Automatic Medication Dispensers (pictured above): These contain 28 compartments for almost an entire month of medication dispensing. Compartments are locked and only allow users access to the correct compartments at the correct dosage time. Digital displays flash and audio reminders prompt users when it's time to take their medication.
Reference: American Occupational Therapy Association. (2017). Occupational therapy's role in medication management. Am J Occup Ther, 1-20.