By Jeff Cushman, R.Ph., Hometown Pharmacy in Neenah

Managing complex medication regimens for a loved one can be both time-consuming and stressful. Caregivers often have to interact with multiple prescribing physicians, organize multiple daily doses, and observe a loved one’s changing ability to keep them all straight.

A great solution is to ask your pharmacist to package the needed pills in organized bubble packs.

Weekly Packs

Also known as 7-Day Cards, multiple pills are packaged together by the time of day they are taken. For instance, morning pills will be in one easy-to-open foil-backed bubble, and noon, evening, and bedtime doses are similarly prepared. The customer starts a new set of packaged meds each week.

Weekly pack medication

Weekly Packs, or 7-Day Cards, are organized by dosage time. Multiple types of pills can be packed together.

Calendar Cards

This packaging method includes up to 31 days of doses of a particular medication or combination of medications. Patients may have multiple cards if they take multiple doses per day.

Calendar Card medication

Calendar Cards include a month’s worth of doses for a particular dosage time on one card.

There are several benefits to bubble packaging:

1. Your pharmacist will update and organize all of your medications.

In a process called medication reconciliation, you bring in all your medicine bottles from all of your prescribers and your pharmacist will work with you and your doctors to set up the best dosing schedule for you. This means we call your doctors, determine if certain medicines are better taken during the day or at night, and set up your first fill so that we can cycle all your refills together, automatically, without your having to call each month. At Hometown Pharmacy, medication reconciliation is a free service.

2. It’s very affordable.

Medicare and Medicaid pay for the medications as usual, but a small fee is added for bubble packaging. At Hometown Pharmacy, it’s $2 per card.

3. Easily check to see if a dose has been taken.

Simply glance at whether or not the bubble pack for that dose is empty. In-home caregivers who do not, by regulation, directly administer medications, can more easily ensure that their client has taken the correct dose at the right time.

4. Save time.

No more sorting and counting pills into those pesky weekly pill sorters or making multiple trips to the pharmacy at different times of the month to pick up refills. After medication reconciliation, all of your refills will occur on the same date so that your cards can be prepared.

5. Feel confident that you are being safe.

Even with the best of intentions, caregivers have a lot of anxiety over whether they can manage complex medication regimens on their own. No one wants to worry about causing a medical emergency over a medication mistake.

6. Over-the-counter (OTC) medicine and supplements can also be included.

If you want to include OTC medicines or supplements in your bubble packs, simply ask your physician to write a prescription for them. This gives your pharmacist permission to open the packages for you and generate the necessary labels.

7. You can have your prescriptions delivered to your door.

That means you’ll get all your medications, organized in bubble packs, without having to leave home. At Hometown Pharmacy, home delivery is free.

8. Pharmacists who manage patients’ bubble packaging keep in touch with your prescribers.

Pharmacists check in with prescribers on a monthly basis so we know about any prescription changes, and we can keep an eye out for any potential drug interactions on your behalf.

Pharmacists are in business to help people feel well and live their best possible lives. Bubble packaging for customers who take several medications—or even those who just have trouble remembering to take one or two different pills—goes a long way to keep customers safe and happy.

Pharmacists inspect medications

A pharmacist inspects every bubble packed prescription card before it is given to the customer.

To learn more about medication bubble packaging, feel free to contact Hometown Pharmacy at (920) 729-4910 or call Valley VNA In-Home Care at (920) 727-5555.