For many patients who use medication to help manage mental health, staying on track with proper dosing and timing can be a struggle. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone — according to the FDA, nearly 50% of patients don’t take their medication as directed. Dr. Tanveer Hussain, an experienced psychiatrist who serves children, adolescents, and adults at our practice, offers these two tips to help your family.
With young children, verbal encouragement and programmed reminders can help to create a good medication routine. Many smart home speakers allow you to set custom reminders that reoccur daily or even at multiple times throughout the day. For example, using an Amazon Alexa home device, families can program a reminder by saying “Alexa, set a reminder to ‘take vitamins’ each day at 8:00 a.m.” The device will continue to broadcast a reminder each day at the designated time until you disable it. Apple HomePod and Google Nest offer the same functionality, depending on your device preference.
For older teens who are beginning to manage their own medications, cell phone reminders (or apps like this one) can promote independence and responsibility. Frequent compliance check-ins are important with any teen who is beginning to manage their own medication and families should consult with their mental health provider if they’re not sure whether their teen is ready for this responsibility.
In addition to using alerts or other reminders, families can benefit from using a pill organizer with daily slots. There are many options available with different configurations to meet your schedule. After selecting an organizer that works for you, make sure to keep it in a central place (for example, on the kitchen counter or in the bathroom next to the tooth brushes). You’ll be able to quickly see if a dose was missed and seek advice, if necessary, from your prescriber.