Medications, medications, medications

A partnership between healthcare providers and patients

Ted Shaikewitz, MD
Partner at Durham Nephrology Associates and head of nephrology at Durham Regional Hospital

It seems like we need to have a different set of pills for every illness, a separate medication needed for each symptom. These treatments can start to pile up.

Assortment of pills and supplementsThe average 70-year-old person takes seven different types of pills a day. Many people take far more medication. Patients often see specific healthcare providers for each problem that needs medication, and a single provider for the treatment of different problems at different times. 

Who is looking at the big picture and trying to ensure all the medications are still needed and work well together? Who is checking for cost effectiveness? I believe a team approach is needed, and the captains of the team can be patients and their loved ones.

At Durham Regional Hospital, the doctors, nurses and Pharmacy staff work with patients on admission to make sure the medications in use prior to admission are reconciled with the patients’ current needs and ordered appropriately. During the hospital stay, a list of medications is provided to patients and their loved ones each day, allowing them to be better prepared to ask questions about what is going on and help them direct their own care. At discharge, we again review the old outpatient therapies with patients’ new needs and see to it a new printed medication list is provided.

Your participation in managing your own medications is important. Review your medications with your healthcare providers at each visit, and ask questions about whether you might benefit from other changes.

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