By Nurse Ruth
Do you remember when you were in school and the teacher would ask, “Does everyone understand? Are there any questions?” Many times I did not understand and did have questions. Was I the only one? As I looked around the classroom, many times I was the only one with my hand in the air. In present time, I find I’m still asking questions and waving my hand in the air. And again, sometimes it seems I am the only one.
As a nurse, some of my biggest questions today have to do with medications. Why? Why so many? Why medications vs. altering lifestyle? Why a diuretic vs. limiting salt intake? Why a sleep aid vs. increasing physical activity and limiting caffeine intake. Why are anti-psychotics and tranquilizers used so frequently in our elderly to control what is perceived to be undesirable behavior vs. trying to gain a better understanding of the cause (e.g. pain, mental confusion, underlying infection or adverse reaction to medication)?
The point I’m trying to drive home is this: let’s all start asking questions. Questions like, why this medication? What if I don’t take it? Is there an alternative? Is there, perhaps, a more natural alternative? With regards to natural alternatives, these, too, are medications, herbal or otherwise. They have side effects as well and can interfere with absorption of prescription medications.
When you go to the doctor, it is helpful to make a list with three questions you would like answered. This helps prioritize true problems and concerns. Bring your list of medications. If you don’t have a list, bring your medication bottles. Many people have more than one doctor writing prescriptions for them, unaware that they are on the same medication but under a different drug name. This is also why it is important for you to consult your pharmacist to do a drug profile for you. This can prevent drug interactions and duplication.
ASK QUESTIONS!!! That’s what you should do of your doctor, pharmacist, and nurse. And if you don’t understand the answers, ask more questions.
If you have a concern, viewpoint or comment with regard to this subject matter, Let’s Talk!
Provided by Ruth Fanovich, RN, LHRM, Owner, Care Placement Home Health Agency, Inc. and RMF Care Management, Inc. www.CarePlacementHH.com.