Jo Anne became a caregiver to her mom in 2014. She is also a publisher, coach, author, and member of the National Writers Union NY Chapter.
Overwhelm was a predominant feeling of mine during the first few years of my suddenly new caregiver role. Then, I came into contact with the following three medicine and medical managers.
1. Seven-Day Compartment Pillbox
A friend of mine bought me a seven-day pillbox for my mom. It had four compartments (morn, noon, eve, bed) for each day. It provided my first semblance of peace because mom had so many medications to keep up with and administer at various times each day.
I was quite grateful for this simple but practical and valuable invention, especially the large one with the deep compartments. I have two pillboxes for mom, so I don’t have to fill them as often. I also keep a pill crusher and pill cutter on hand. These items are handy to have when caring for aging loved ones.
2. CareZone APP
I think I found out about CareZone from an AARP email. This app helped me to organize all of my mom’s medications, doctor instructions, and other medical-related information in one place. I was able to scan her prescriptions, get refill reminders, call in refills, easily print out active and inactive medication lists, store insurance cards, and doctors’ contact info. It is a blessing for me to have this information readily available on my phone wherever I go and pull up as needed.
I also decided to have her medications transferred to their pharmacy for free mail delivery, which was a blessing since the Coronavirus affected the delivery service of the local pharmacy.
UPDATE: As of June 5, 2020, CareZone has partnered with Walgreens and will no longer dispense medications. And effective June 10, 2020, the CareZone App will be discontinued and data no longer accessible. I will start using the Walgreens Home Delivery Service and see how they do dispensing mom's prescription in a timely manner..
I found out about Northwell Health HouseCalls Program after one of mom’s stays at Northwell Health—Long Island Jewish Valley Stream in NY, formerly Franklin General Hospital.
The House Calls program does just that: It makes doctor house call visits quarterly and within a week of a medical facility discharge. When a medical situation arises at home, we call and speak with a registered nurse about new symptoms. The nurse conveys the information to the doctor, who determines if she should dispatch their paramedics.
Once the paramedics arrive, they assess her vitals and have a video consult with the doctor. It has given me great peace to have mom receive medical treatment at home without being transported to a hospital in most cases, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. At one point, mom had stopped eating, drinking, and taking her meds, was very lethargic and had diarrhea. The paramedics came, hooked up an IV and gave her fluids, which normalized her blood pressure and sugar level.
The program also has a social worker and phone options for refills, medical coordinator, durable medical equipment, new patient referrals, and billing. You can also select 1 for emergencies. There is no longer a need to call 911 with the Northwell housecalls program. Their main number is 516-876-4100.
Caregiving can be stressful and energy-draining, but it's more manageable when you utilize available resources, tools, and programs that help you organize your caregiver world and give you peace of mind.
Jo Anne Meekins
Inspired 4 U
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Jo Anne Meekins
Jo Anne Meekins (author) from Queens, NY on May 26, 2020:
Thank you Peggy! Yes, mom does appreciate it in her own way. :-) She calls me mommy most times. I've grown to develop such a precious sweet love for her. She's my "boobalah" and I'm grateful that she is still here with me.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 26, 2020:
It is wonderful that you have found those services provided by the hospital to be so useful. Also, that pill organizer makes sense for people who have to keep up with several medications. Bless you, for caring for your mother. I am sure that she appreciates it. Take care of yourself also!