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What is Medication Management?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Medication management is the monitoring of medications that a patient takes to confirm that he or she is complying with a medication regimen, while also ensuring the patient is avoiding potentially dangerous drug interactions and other complications. This is especially important for those taking large numbers of medications to address chronic illnesses and multiple diseases. Taking multiple medications is known as polypharmacy, and it is particularly common among older adults, as they are more likely to need medications to manage an array of chronic conditions.

There are a number of aspects to medication management, all of which are focused on making sure that medications are used appropriately. Keeping track of all of the medications currently in use by a patient is an important part. This can include creating printed lists describing medications, their dosages, and how they are being used. These lists can be kept in patient charts and provided to patients to help them track the drugs they use and understand why various medications are being prescribed.

Monitoring medication administration is also key. Medications usually need to be taken in specific doses at set intervals. Missing doses or timing doses incorrectly can cause complications. To manage this, everything from devices that issue reminders to patients to take their medications to filling pill cases for patients and marking the lid of each compartment to indicate when the contents need to be taken may be used.

Another part of medication management involves checking for harmful drug interactions and confirming that patients follow directions for taking drugs. This includes ensuring that patients on medications with known harmful interactions are not provided with conflicting prescriptions. It also includes reminding patients about whether or not drugs need to be taken with food, and warning them about potential side effects such as fatigue, hunger, or altered level of consciousness that might disrupt their activities.

A number of systems can be used to help manage medications, from computers at a pharmacy that track prescription history in order to issue warnings when conflicting drugs are prescribed, to keeping detailed patient records for healthcare providers to use when writing prescriptions. Working directly with patients tends to increase compliance with drug regimens by showing them how and when to use their medications and stressing why compliance is important. Care providers are also involved in this process to confirm that patients are getting their medications on time and in the correct doses.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By oopart28 — On Jun 04, 2011

I work part-time for a home health care company. We provide medication management services along with out other services. The nurse-supervised system includes setting up meds in a 7 day medication box.

We also provide daily medication reminders. We help with re-ordering as well as staying in contact with our patients’ physicians. Helping to make sure our patients get the right medications at the right time is part of preserving their quality of life.

By OhDeDoh — On Jun 02, 2011

My grandfather has the coolest device to help him with his medications. It is a personal medication management system.

It is an electronic device that holds 28 days worth of his medications. It works on a timer and has a beeping signal to let him know when it is time to take his pills. The beeping only turns off after the medication door is opened. The tray automatically rotates to be ready for the next dose.

I think the best feature is the alert system. If my grandfather does manage to forget a dose, the management system alerts the company’s Care Center so appropriate follow up takes places with my grandfather’s caregivers. There is a monthly fee with the device, but it is totally worth it.

By trekker — On Jun 01, 2011

I have worked with elderly patients as a personal care provider and certified nursing assistant. I spent some time working in an assisted living facility when I first started out. The resident assistants at my level were all certified to administer medications.

We worked under the direction of nurses, but a lot of the management of medication relied on our accuracy and reporting. We were responsible for getting each of our residents the right medication at the right time.

All medications given were logged into the computer. Any narcotics were additionally signed for. We also counted and verified the controlled substances at each shift as part of the medication management process.

As resident assistants, we tended to spend a lot more time with each resident than the nurses were able to. We were often the eyes and ears, looking out for possible problems. Proper medication management plays a huge role in a care facility.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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