How to Organise Daily Medicines
Do you have a problem with drugs? Does your heart sink when the doctor adds another tablet to the list? Are there half-opened packets all over the house? Do you wake up at night wondering if you’ve taken everything?
Keeping track of a long list of daily medicines can be tricky, but sorting them into a tablet (dosset/dossette) box may help restore order.
Choosing a Suitable Tablet Box
These boxes make it easier to organise tablets into regular doses. The box is usually divided into the seven days of the week. Each day may be further divided into morning, lunch, afternoon and evening. Some models have reminder alarms that sound when a dose is due.
Boxes for a single day’s use are also available, and are handy for outings.
A useful design comprises a stack of seven individual boxes. Each can be taken out and used as a separate ‘pillbox.’
Chemists usually sell tablet boxes, but there’s a wider choice on-line.
If it’s possible to examine the box before purchase, check that the compartment lids close properly, but are not too stiff to open. Very small compartments may be fiddly – consider also whether there’s enough space for all the tablets. Look out for awkward corners, where tiny tablets can hide.
It may take some trial and error, but once you’ve found a suitable box, it’s useful to buy some spares, so tablets can be assembled a week or two in advance.
How to Fill a Tablet Box
Tablets which have to be taken in a particular way (i.e. dissolved in water), or have specific instructions (‘take standing up’), shouldn’t be included in a tablet box. Frequently changing dosages (i.e. Warfarin), can also cause difficulty. In some cases, the doctor may be able to suggest alternatives.
- Filling tablet boxes can feel a little daunting at first. Choose a clear surface in a quiet spot, and assemble all the medication.
- Instructions on the packets show when the tablets should be taken. Try to arrange them in sequence (morning, lunch, evening), remembering that some may be required more than once a day.
- It’s helpful to write out a schedule. Write down the times tablets are taken (morning, evening). List the tablets to be taken at each time. Note names, strengths, quantity required, and appearance. This gives you a pattern to work to - and is a useful reminder.
- It’s easier to do the ‘morning’ tablets for the whole week, then check each compartment and close the lids, before progressing to afternoon or evening. Assembling the box a day at a time, can be confusing.
- Open only the compartment lids for the first of the daily doses (i.e. mornings).
- Take a good look at each tablet as you pop it from its pack. Note colour, shape, size, and any markings. Unfortunately, tablet designs can change, but knowing what should be in each compartment will help you to check your work as you go along.
- Tweezers are useful for fishing out small tablets that escape into the wrong compartments. If in any doubt about a misplaced tablet, then dispose of it, rather than guess.
Filling tablet boxes does become easier with practice. Familiarity also leads to mistakes though, so always check carefully. Keep an eye open for medicines or doses changing (especially when starting a new packet).
A tablet box is ideal for helping older patients to retain some independence, but it’s wise to regularly confirm that they are coping with the box, and taking their tablets correctly.
This content was provided by one of our users, Anne Perdeaux