At Medibank, we know that going to hospital can be a challenging time. So we hope this collection of information and advice on your hospital stay helps you have a safe and comfortable stay, and a strong recovery.
If you have recently spent time in hospital, you may have been prescribed new medicines or other changes may be made to your medication regime. This is very common, but it’s important that you understand what each medicine is for and that your GP is up to date on all the medicines you are taking.
Here are some things to keep in mind to help you keep on top of your medications.
Managing 5 or more medicines
The more medicines you are taking, the higher the risk that they might interact with each other and cause side effects, including confusion, memory issues, falls and frailty. Of course it may be that you need every medicine you have been prescribed—but it’s important to see your doctor or pharmacist for a review to be sure that you are taking the best combination of medicines at the right doses. As you age, you are also more likely to experience adverse events from medications. Tell your doctor if you are experiencing any side effects— he or she may be able to prescribe an alternative that suits you better or help you safely stop a medicine if you are no longer benefiting from it.
The risk of side effects and interactions is higher if you are taking five or more medicines. See your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications.
Starting new medicines
- Know why you need it. Make sure you understand what each medicine is for, and why your doctor has prescribed it.
- Discuss with your doctor. Ask your doctor what potential side effects could occur and how common they are. Discuss any concerns you have.
- Make sure you understand. Clarify and follow your doctor’s recommendations on how to take the medicine.
- Check in. Tell your doctor if you experience any side effects.
- Organise your meds. Keep a schedule and take your meds at the same time each day (set an alarm to remind you if you sometimes forget). A Webster-Pak (which groups your pills together for each dose of the day) or other pill organiser can also be helpful—ask at your chemist.
- Try an app. If you have a smartphone, you can download a free app such as Medisafe Meds & Pill Reminder to track your medicines, as well as health measurements such as blood pressure or glucose levels
Questions to ask about your medicines
If you don’t understand, or have concerns about why your doctor has prescribed each medicine, ask questions. Here are some questions you might want answered.
- What is the medicine supposed to do?
- How and when should I take it?
- How long will I need to take this medicine for?
- Are there any foods, drinks or other medicines I need to avoid while I’m taking this?
- Are they any activities that this medicine might impact?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
- What are the possible side effects?
- What should I do if I experience a side effect?
- Can you provide any written information about the medicine?
Read more about the risks of taking multiple medications, and what to do if you are regularly taking several medications.