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Medication Compliance: How It Works in Assisted Living Communities

Most adults in the U.S. 65 years or older currently take some form of medication. Additionally, many senior citizens live in nursing homes or other assisted living communities. 

Knowing precisely how medication compliance works in one of these communities can help you decide which community to choose for your loved one. Every state has its own guidelines, but you can expect general requirements across the board. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the fundamentals of managing medication and how to ensure a community demonstrates proper medical compliance. We’ll also explore what traits indicate an assisted living community is of high quality. 

This guide will help you find the best assisted living community in West Point

What’s the Difference Between Medication Management and Medication Administration? 

When searching for healthcare providers and assisted living communities, you might come across two terms: medication management and medication administration. Let’s explore these two terms in more depth: 

Medication Administration

This term indicates how an assisted living community should administer medication to residents and who can oversee this process. Many times called routes of medication, medication administration details how a resident should take certain medications. Some examples include: 

  • Taking pills or treatments orally 
  • Applying prescriptions directly onto a patient’s skin 
  • Helping the patient inhale the necessary medication
  • Injecting the drugs directly into the patient’s body 

Medications can cover many prescriptions, from treating minor health concerns to antihypertensive medications, drugs treating chronic conditions, supplements, and more. Regardless of the treatment, the correct party must perform the administration. 

Who can administer medication depends on how the resident takes the drug and what condition they’re treating. Who can perform these tasks also depends upon the state. 

Generally speaking, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, the parties that can perform this task must be healthcare professionals. To perform this task, these professionals must also be licensed, registered, or certified by the Department of State. Examples include: 

  • Nurses
  • Physicians 
  • Dentists
  • Paramedics 

Sometimes the residents themselves can also administer their prescriptions. 

Proper medication compliance requires parties administering medication to follow five strict guidelines, also called the five Rs: 

  • The right resident: Before administering a prescription, the party must ensure they have the right resident. They will confirm the resident’s identity. 
  • The right prescription: Unfortunately, many medicines used to treat chronic disease and other issues can sound alike. The nurse, physician, or another party should verify they have the right prescription. 
  • The right route: You can give some prescriptions to a patient in multiple ways. Medical compliance ensures a patient is receiving the medication via the correct method. 
  • The right dose: Dosage can vary across different medications and for the residents themselves. The administering person should always verify they’re giving a resident the correct dosage. 
  • The right time: Timing can also be crucial for many medications. An administering person ensures a resident is taking medication at the proper time. Doing so prevents under or overmedicating them. 

Medication Management

Medication management deals more so with the process of overseeing residents’ medications. This process includes ensuring residents receive their medications and tracking this information. 

Like with medication administration, medication management follows the five Rs. Medication administration primarily focuses on factors like the correct route and dosage. Medication management, on the other hand, focuses on broader areas, including: 

  • Medication compliance 
  • Detecting any allergies as a result of a prescription 
  • Medication safety 
  • Drug interaction prevention 
  • Providing education to residents and their caregivers

In many ways, education and communication are the most essential elements of medication management. The most significant issues medical management workers and assisted living communities face as a whole include the following: 

  • Coordinating with various pharmacies 
  • Managing over-the-counter drugs versus prescribed supplementals or medications
  • Verifying a physician’s prescription orders for residents 

Since medical management follows a rigorous process, residents sometimes can’t order specific medications from their chosen pharmacy. However, these restrictions pay off as workers in an assisted living community are more likely to be on the same page. 

This effective line of communication starts with the pharmacies. For example, pharmacies will reduce medication errors by packaging drugs with a resident’s name and their needed dosage. 

How Can You Check if an Assisted Living Community Is High Quality?

Residents and their families trust that assisted living communities have high standards. Patient adherence means to the extent a patient follows a medical professional’s advice, including medical compliance. However, medication compliance is just as or more important for caregivers. 

To ensure a community provides the proper medical care, you can ask some specific questions. These questions can help you get a better sense of a community’s medical management procedures and policies: 

Does Your Community Have Medication Management Programs In Place? 

Every community should have these programs in place alongside strict policies. After asking this question, you can also follow up by asking about the training a community’s staff receives. 

How Do You Prevent and Correct Drug Allergies? 

Medical professionals should cross-reference a resident’s medications with allergies or other adverse reactions. Ideally, negative reactions should never occur. However, the suitable community will have measures in place if a reaction does happen. 

You can also ask the community if they cross reference prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. For example, certain supplements may interfere with a resident’s medicine. 

How Does Your Community Document the Medications They Administer? 

Ideally, an assisted living community should track medications digitally, as a physical logbook can result in too many errors. 

Is Your Community Compliant with the Latest Requirements? 

The law is constantly changing, and states often have new requirements. Therefore, an assisted living community should comply with new guidelines and requirements. 

How Does Your Community Store Its Medications? 

You want to ensure a community properly stores its medications. If your loved one can self-administer, you can also ask if the prescriptions are allowed in their room. 

Call We Care Senior Solutions Today 

Finding the right assisted living community for your loved one includes knowing how they handle medication compliance. To make the process easier, We Care Senior Solutions can pair your family member with the correct community. 

Discovers how assisted living placement works in Pennsylvania by calling We Care Senior Solutions at

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