13 October 2007

Forgetful? Confused?

'Sounds amusing but this is really a big problem for both doctors and patients.

In my experience, not too many patients are keen on remembering the name and type of medicines they are taking. Their only concern seems to be to get better at the soonest possible time. Most of the time when asked, these patients will mention the color and shape of the tablet or capsules they are taking. Sometimes, that helps; most of the time, it does not. It gets to be a real problem when a doctor is trying to get an accurate medication history. If patients can't remember the names of the drugs they're taking, surely, they also do not know the dosages. That's an even bigger problem --- a doctor becomes clueless if the patient is undertreated or already suffering from an overdose.

Possible solution? Patients should have relatives who are supportive and who will be willing to take down notes on medication history. As it is, not every patient is blessed with good and loving relatives. Ah, but that is another story.

3 reactions:

bayi said...

I wonder if it is because I am getting older. I tend to forget some of the simplest names when I need to remember them and though sometimes I do remember after pausing to think, at other times I remember them later.

Perhaps I need to have a better method of word association to help jog my memory. But of course, I do worry sometimes that my memory may be declining with the advancing age.

Char said...

Some of my patients either show me their prescriptions or dump all their pills on the tray. ;)

lights n steel said...

There is almost nothing more nerve-wracking than getting an elderly trauma patient with a known heart history and can't tell you if they're on plavix. Maybe I shouldn't do this, but when the dust settles, I usually gently scold them and tell them to put a slip of paper in their wallets because it may save their life one day.