Many of the people we spoke to keep a medicines list, which is encouraged by the five health professionals we also spoke to. The kind of information on people’s lists includes the brand name of the medicine; the active ingredients; the dose and when it is taken; when they started the medicine; their medical history; their photo; contact details for family, next of kin, GP and specialists; the condition or purpose for which they are taking the medicine; and the date when the list was last updated.
Some people have devised their own list, whereas others use a document or template provided through community organisations or from reputable health organisations’ websites. Others receive a computer printout of their medicines and other relevant information from their GP, or when they were discharged from hospital.
Keeping a list is particularly important for people whose mood or cognitive functioning (such as memory) may be affected by their conditions or as side effects of the medicines they are taking. One person we spoke to keeps copies of her medicines list in several places, as her conditions can make her feel ‘disoriented’ and ‘vague’. Having these lists means that she can keep track of what she needs to take and when, wherever she is.
Several people also keep a medicines list for their own information, or as part of their system for managing their medicines. Having a clear list that shows when each medicine needs to be taken means they are less likely to become confused and make a mistake with their medicines.