Frequently Asked Questions
|What is the Automatic Prescription Pill Dispensing System?||This system is a cost effective alternative to institutional care - a safe, reliable, home based drug delivery and monitoring system that will assist those individuals who have trouble remembering to take their medications, confuse their dosing times, struggle to open pill bottles or have difficulty reading the prescription labels, The locked dispensing unit simplifies medication organization and delivery and dispenses medication on schedule. It comes equipped with a built in monitoring system providing peace of mind for the caregiver who is monitoring the user’s medication schedule. Peace of mind, flexibility and quality of life all while in the comfort of the user’s residence.|
|Who should use this system?||For many seniors, home care has become the method of choice. The elderly population today is pushing for more independence and choice than has traditionally been the norm. They are demanding dignity; privacy and autonomy, creating an increased importance on keeping seniors in the community and helping them maintain connections with family and friends.
Many seniors, however, use medication on a daily basis. Prescription drugs can be lifesavers, but only if taken correctly. Remembering what pills to take, when to take them, trying to open bottles or trying to read the labels puts tremendous stress on the elderly as well as their family or caregivers. This system provides an alternative – a safe, reliable, economical home based drug delivery and monitoring system that will serve to improve the quality of life and independence of those with regular or complex pill regimes – all while in the comfort of their home.
|How does it work?||The locked dispensing unit sits comfortably on a small table with access to power and telephone outlets. At pre-programmed intervals, a flashing indicator light and audible alarm notify the user that it is time to take his/her medication. The audible alarm increases in pitch to remind the user to press the dispensing button. With the simple press of a button, the appropriate pills are dispensed into the easily accessible tray.
The unit also comes equipped with remote reporting capabilities. The caregiver carries a pager and is notified of a change in the status of the unit. Codes are assigned to the various status changes allowing the caregiver to respond as appropriate. In some instances, the need will be immediate as the caregiver is alerted of a system critical parameter, while in other cases, the caregiver can respond within a pre-arranged time frame.
|How many status parameters are reported & how are they responded to?||There are 7 status parameters reported.
Code 1 REPORTING SYSTEM FAIL is a critical parameter requiring immediate attention.
Code 2 RECOVERABLE FAILURE (EMPTY) is a critical parameter requiring immediate attention.
Code 3 PILL NOT TAKEN requires a phone call from the caregiver to the user.
Code 4 EMPTY WARNING is responded to as appropriate.
Code 5 NO EXTERNAL POWER is responded to as appropriate.
Code 6 is a heads up that the DAY A WAY is removed from its holder.
Code 7 informs the caregiver that the DAY A WAY has been returned.
|Is it easy to use?||Absolutely. The simplicity of the outside of the unit is designed for ease of use and more specifically to reduce apprehension and confusion for the user. There is no need for the user to understand the loading requirements or internal operation of the unit. The simple push of a button once the visual and audible alarms sound notify the user that it is time to take their medication.
The control panel used for programming the device is located within the unit and can only be accessed by the caregiver, safeguarding medications and reducing any concern or confusion the user may have.
|Are the medications secured?||The user activated pill ejection mechanism prevents medication from being left out in the open - safeguarding medication from children who may be visiting their grandparents.
If at the end of 28 minutes the user has not responded to the reminders, the pills are removed from the repository and placed in the secure internal catch bin – the user can no longer access this medication eliminating the possibility of double dosing. The medication is now only accessible by the caregiver who has been notified via remote reporting and must respond accordingly.
|What are the responsibilities of the user?||The user's responsibilities include responding to the audible & visual alarms, returning the “Day Away” to its holder on return to residence and calling the caregiver if the fault reporting fails (shown as a red flashing indicator on the visual panel).|
|Who is a caregiver?||The caregiver is the person (or persons) that currently helps the user with their medications. In some instances, this will be a family member and in other instances the caregiver is someone assigned by a health care agency with RNA or RN staff.|
|Who is responsible to insure that the cartridges are filled, inserted into the dispenser and monitored?||It depends on the leasing package.
a) Member of the family does everything.
b) Caregiver assigned by a health care agency does every thing.
c) A combination of these responsibilities.
|What if the user is not home when it is time to fill the dispenser?||The dispenser can be filled at any time during the 2 weeks of operation thus providing ample time to make arrangements with the user.|
|How will the caregiver be informed of a problem if the telephone connection is removed from the wall jack?||The telephone connection can not be inadvertently disconnected. It is locked in place at the wall jack & the back of the dispenser.|
|How can the dispenser make a call to the caregiver’s pager if the user is on the phone?||The dispenser issues a long steady tone. The user tells the party that he/she is talking to, to please hang up, and that he/she will call back later. The user must hang up the phone. The loud tone will turn off. The dispenser will make the call.|
|How is the user’s prescription regime made known to medical personnel in an emergency?||The prescriptions are listed on a card mounted on the side of the dispenser. The people responding to the emergency can take this card with them.|
|What if the external power is lost?||In the event of a power outage, the dispenser will report the loss of power and continue to operate seamlessly using an internal 12 hour battery back-up.|
|How are the user’s pills protected in transport between the pharmacist & the user’s dispenser?||The removable cartridges are locked. They can only be opened by the pharmacist/caregiver & by the dispenser.|
|What if the individual is hearing impaired?||Available as an optional feature, an auxilary unit can be placed in the user's residence and will allow an existing lamp to flash and visually indicate the time to take the required pills.|
|How is a prescription that doesn’t run the full 14 days handled by this dispenser?||When recording the information on the prescription template, place the prescription that runs for less than 14 days into a time period that already contains a prescription.|
|If the dispenser is not operating, how are the pills remaining in the dispenser removed?||The dispenser has a procedure that allows the caregiver to remove any pills remaining in the dispenser before the dispenser is removed from the user’s residence.|