There is still so much more to do to meet your 2023 New Year’s resolution of having your medication management program under control. Come along and let us help guide you on toning up your med management and trimming down errors and family complaints.
This is the third tip in a series of tips for managing your medication program. Tip # 1 was to get to know your pharmacist consultant and account manager and gather the help and resources they have to offer. Tip # 2 was to put your focus on your Certified Medication Aides (CMA) and staff education. This month’s tip is to have consistent packaging and check-in your cycle each time it comes.
Assisted living regulations require medications be packaged in the same state (for us, that’s Georgia). Personal care regulations do not have that same requirement UNLESS the community has a licensed memory care unit and uses CMAs. Then, the personal care home (PCH) must comply with all the same regulations the CMA follows. One of those is to only administer medications from unit or multi-dose packaging. Consistent packaging, meaning using the same packaging for all residents, decreases med pass time, CMA and nurse error, and helps medication staff administer medications easily and safely. No medication staff person, even a nurse, should consistently administer medications out of RX bottles. This is not a safe medication practice.
So how do you know what packaging to choose? We always recommend looking first at the capabilities of your staff, the building layout and your storage capacity. Each packaging type has its own advantages and disadvantages; however, the number and quality of staff you have and whether you are passing medications from room to room, in the dining room, or even on different floors should factor into your packaging decision. This is where a good pharmacist consultant or nurse account manager can help you determine the best packaging type for your community.
The next part of this month’s tip is to make sure you are checking-in your cycle medications. How can you know you received all the resident’s medications if you don’t check them in? This is a very important step in medication management and can prevent errors and complaints. There are some eMAR systems that will assist with the check-in to make it fast and easy. Even if your eMAR doesn’t do this, we recommend putting a process in place to ensure all medications arriving from the pharmacy are checked-in prior to going in the cart.
Medication management program tip # 3 is to have consistent packaging and check-in your cycle medications. These are two more foundations to a well-organized, efficient medication management program, which we will share in our next update.
At Guardian Pharmacy of Atlanta, we offer different types of packaging to meet the needs of your community. We also have cycle check-in service, or we can teach you how to do it correctly. Both services, as well as many others, are available to you if you need a new pharmacy partner.
If you have questions about these services or any others, please contact Lori Newcomb, RPh, BCGP, at 404-309-4958.