Day-to-Day Care


Home Treatment:  Medication Guide



Medication - General Guide


Follow exactly any instructions given by your doctor.


Find out the possible side-effects.


Do not give any medicine if you cannot read the label.


Do not use any medicine that has passed the expiry date.


Never transfer medicines from the original container.  This is to prevent error in medications.  In addition, a container may be used for specific reason.  For instance, GTN tablets (a medicine for relief of chest pain) are kept in dark container because they are affected by light.


For some liquid medicine, the expiry date changes once the bottle is opened.


Preparations such as eye and ear drops should be discarded one month after opening to avoid use of a deteriorated or contaminated product.


Always serve the medicine according to prescribed amount and time.


Check for any changes in the physical appearance of the medicines before use.


Use a measuring spoon or syringe to give the correct dose of liquid medicine.


When administering liquids, always remember to shake the bottle.  This distributes the medication evenly throughout the liquid.


Some large tablets can be crushed or divided if the patient finds them difficult to swallow.


Capsules and sugar coated tablets should not be crushed or divided.  This coating protects the drug from the acidic environment of the stomach and also prevent the drug from irritating the stomach lining.  In the case of slow-release medicine, the coating allows the drug to be slowly released over a prolonged period of time.


If you forget a dose, serve it as soon as you remember it and resume the prescribed schedule.  If it is almost time for the next dose, DO NOT take the missed dose and Do Not double the next dose.


Apart from the prescribed medicines, do not give the person other medicines without consultation.


Talk to your doctor if you feel that a drug is not having the required effect.  Never increase a dose without the knowledge of your doctor.


If the person is prescribed with antibiotic, ensure that he completes the whole course.  Not completing the course might lead to a more resistant organism re-infecting the person, hence making that antibiotic not effective in subsequent treatment.  However, if the course of antibiotic is completed but the person has not recovered completely from the illness, you should return to your doctor for review.


Store medicines away from the reach of children and according to directions.  Some medicines are affected by both light and heat and should be stored in cool dark place.


Medicines prescribed for a person must not be given to anyone else with similar compliant.  Different person may react differently to the same medicine even though his symptoms are similar.


If your doctor discontinue a treatment, discard the unfinished medicines.


If your are taking Chinese medicine and western medicine, take them 4 hours apart.  It is recommended that you consult your doctors before taking any medicine.




Questions About Your Care Recipient's Medication


Why is the person taking the medicine?


Does the person has any known drug allergies to the medicine?


How long does the person need to take the medication?


Can the medicine be taken with other medicines the person is taking?


How is the medicine to be given? Orally (by mouth), by injection, by insertion (suppositories or pessaries), by inhalation, topically (applied to the skin) or applied directly into the ears, eyes and nose?


When is the medicine to be given?  3 times a day, on every other day, when necessary,  on empty stomach or after meals?


How long it takes for the medicine to take effect?


How will it affect other medical conditions the person may have?


What are the possible adverse effects from the medication?


What you should do if there are adverse effects?


What are the risks of not taking the medicines?


Is there a need to complete the whole prescription?


Does the medicine comes in liquid form for a person feeding by tube?


How do you store the medicine?


Is the medicine available over-the-counter?


Are there any other special instructions and precautions for use?





Instilling Eye Drops


Ask the person to sit or lie down and to look up.


Wash your hand before cleaning the eyes.


Ask the person to close his eyes for you to wipe away any material on the lids or lashes.  Clean the eyes & lids, using a sweeping motion from inner to outer corner of each eye using each swab once only.  Always clean the affected eye last to prevent spread of infection to the unaffected eye.


Ask the person to open his eyes.  Place your index finger on his cheek just below the eye and gently draw down the lower lid away from the eye until it forms a small pocket.


Hold the dropper in your other hand about 5cm above the eye and instill the prescribed drops into the lower part of the eye.


Do not touch or allow the tip of the dropper to come into contact with the eye as this will contaminate the solution within.


Release the lower lid and instruct the person to close his eye lid gently for 30 seconds.


Dab any access on the eye lashes with a clean tissue paper.


If more than one medication needs to be administered into the eye, wait for 5 to 10 minutes between applications.





Applying Eye Ointment


Wash your hands before procedure.


Ask the person to sit down, tilt head back and look at ceiling.


Gently pull down the lower eyelid until it forms a small pocket.


Hold the tube with the applicator parallel to the eye to avoid injury. 


Squeeze a line of thin layer of ointment, approximately cm, along the inside of the pocket without touching the eye, lid or lashes.


Release the lower lid and ask the person to blink.


Wipe away the excess ointment with a tissue paper.




Instilling Ear Drops


Ask the person to lie on his side with the affected ear uppermost.


Clean away any discharges or wax in the ear to allow better absorption of the drug.


Hold the top of the affected ear and pull up and back as you instill the drops.  This will straighten the ear canal and ensure that the drops is instilled as far as possible.


Do not touch or allow the tip of the dropper to come into contact with the lining of the ear to avoid contamination.


Instruct the person to stay in this position for 2 to 3 minutes.


Massage the affected ear gently, just in front of the opening, to ensure that the drops have penetrated successfully.


If required, place wool swab at the orifice of the ear to absorb excess medication and discharge.


Wait for 5 to 10 minutes between applications if more than one medication is needed to be administered into the ear. 




Instilling Nose Drops


Make sure that the nostrils are free from dirt, mucous and other foreign material.  Use a soft tissue to clean the area.


Ask the person to blow his nose gently to clear the nasal passage so as to facilitate the absorption of the medicine.


Instruct him to sit down with his head tipped back.  Tilt the person head slightly to one side and hold the opposite nostril closed when instilling the drops.


Do not allow the dropper tip to come into contact with the inside of the nostril to avoid contamination.


Ask the person to breathe in and out of his mouth and, as he does so, instill the prescribed drops into the nostril.


Advise the person to keep his head titled back for 5 minutes and not to blow his nose for 15 minutes following instillation of the drops.  This is necessary to allow the medication to take effect.




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