On a Schedule: The Role of Universal Medication Schedules in PACE Pharmacy Services

The ultimate goal of PACE is to keep participants healthy and aging in place at home. For PACE pharmacy providers, one significant part of that mission is ensuring participants understand and adhere to their medication regimens. Each year, an estimated 700,000 people visit emergency rooms due to adverse drug events, including medication nonadherence. In many cases, health illiteracy plays a significant role, as patients don’t understand why they’re taking medications or how to take them correctly. That problem is magnified among seniors, with more than two-thirds having basic or less than basic health literacy. Adding to the problem, prescription labels have long been highly variable and inconsistent, with vague and unhelpful directions. Grane Rx offers a number of solutions that work hand-in-hand with UMS, helping PACE participants understand their medications and take them properly. Let’s take a look at three of those PACE pharmacy solutions.

PACE Pharmacy Solution 1: Use of the UMS Medication Dosing Times

The Grane Rx EasyRead Pharmacy Solution dispenses medications in color-coded boxes that indicate whether a medication is taken daily or as needed. The back of the box includes a LearnRx calendar that clearly identifies for PACE participants what time of day each of their medications should be taken. The calendar includes the four UMS medication dosing times—morning, noon, evening and night. In addition, within the boxes, medications are dispensed in perforated SimplePacks with medications grouped together for each of those dosing times.

PACE Pharmacy Solution 2: Icons Drive More Compliance

The last decade has seen a push for a universal medication schedule (UMS), with the goal of providing a more uniform, easily understood way of describing how to take daily medications. The UMS utilizes four specific medication-taking time periods—morning, noon, evening and bedtime—and moves to simplify phrases such as “take one tablet twice daily.” Instead, a prescription adhering to UMS would add clarity by saying “take 1 tablet in the morning and 1 tablet at bedtime.” A Northwestern University study found that participants receiving medications labeled using the UMS were less likely to make mistakes with their medication regimen. The most significant improvement was seen among those with low health literacy and those with complex medication regimens—two common attributes among the PACE population. [Tweet “Improving #medicationadherence requires a thorough approach in #PACEpharmacy”]

PACE Pharmacy Solution 3: Directions for All Types of Learners

We understand that everyone learns and takes in information differently. Our packaging utilizes words, colors, numerals and symbols to provide information in a way that participants will connect with. The UMS dosing times themselves are identified using words, colors and a symbol—for example, morning doses are identified with green and a rooster in addition to the time of day. The packaging is supplemented by LearnRx medication summaries for each medication, providing pertinent information at a fifth-grade reading level and in a larger font that’s easier on participant eyes. These summaries are also available in multiple languages.

PACE Pharmacy Solution 4: Medication Images

Because PACE participants typically take multiple medications for a variety of health conditions, being able to differentiate between medications is essential. Grane Rx packaging includes a photo of each medication tablet or capsule to make identification easy. On the same line with the medication image, participants can see the medication’s name, along with why they’re taking the medication. Including the medication’s therapeutic indication is vitally important, since patients who know why they’re taking a medication are more likely to take it correctly. Once you partner with Grane Rx for PACE pharmacy services, we take it from there. From ordering to packaging to delivery, we provide the solutions your PACE center needs. Get started today by calling (412) 449-0504 or emailing paceteam@granerx.com. ]]>

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