Choosing a medication packaging system for your community can be a daunting task. Which one is safest for my residents? Which one is easiest for my staff? Should I use single unit dose or multi-dose packaging? There are not right or wrong answers. Below are some tips to help you choose the packaging that works best for your community.
In order to make an informed decision regarding packaging for your residents, you must assess your residents’ acuity, the community’s physical layout, your licensure requirements, and staff comfort level with medication management.
First, if you have multiple medication changes and high-acuity residents, multi-dose packaging may not be the best choice for you. Next, if your community is very large or has several floors, you might wish to avoid unit dose cards, as they are bulky and require lots of storage space. In Georgia, if your staff is assisting with medications and is not allowed or trained to administer them, the rules require that “original pharmacy packaging be in front of the resident.” For that reason, you would want to avoid bulky, large packaging. Finally, the understanding of your staff to be competent in handling medication changes, order changes, and overall medication management should be a big consideration in what packging type you choose.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to medication packaging. Punch cards are single unit dose and make changes very easy. However, it’s imperative that your staff is carefully reading and interpreting orders and know when the medication should be given. This system is also large and requires a large amount of storage space. Strip packages are much easier for staff because medications are packaged the way they should be given and it takes up very little space, but it’s also more difficult to handle medication changes in the middle of the cycle than with unit dose. Other multi-dose packaging systems that have multiple medications in a sealed bubble or cup are safe and easy for staff to use, but they’re bulky and require a higher level of staff competence when dosing changes are made in the middle of a cycle.
At Guardian Pharmacy of Atlanta, we know that choosing medication packaging is not an easy decision to make. That’s why we have several packaging options for you to choose from, and we have pharmacist and technician experts that can help you in your decision, as well as maintaining the system you choose.
If you would like to learn more about what Guardian Pharmacy Atlanta has to offer you, please call the pharmacy at 770-635-3301, or our consultant pharmacist, Lori Newcomb, at 404-309-4958 to learn more about your options.