Simple Steps to Creating a Complete Medication List

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Jen Wolfe

Caregiving /

According to the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, the average 65-year-old takes approximately 14 medications per year, while the average 80-year-old takes 18 medications. With statistics like these, the thought of creating a complete medication list for your parent may seem like a daunting task. However, having a complete list is essential to preventing prescribing mistakes as it can be shared with all the doctors your parent sees. Each doctor should be aware of what the others are prescribing to avoid dangerous prescribing errors. To keep things as simple as possible, I've  made this guide for you that breaks down the process into 2 simple steps.

Please follow Step A if your parent lives within driving distance and you are able to go to their house, and follow Step B if you will be doing this long distance.

Step A:

1. Bring your parent’s medication to one simple location (i.e. the kitchen table).  Make sure to check the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom for prescription medication bottles.  Be sure to gather any over-the-counter medications they are using, as well as, vitamins and supplements.

2. Use the medication list (link at end of article) to write or type each prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, vitamins, or supplements. Every prescription bottle will have a label with both a brand and generic name on it, make sure to document both names on the list. Use the bottle label as a guide to write down the directions for each medication, and also confirm with your parent that they are taking the medications according to directions.  Fill in the remainder of the list to the best of your ability.  Contact your parent’s pharmacist or prescriber if you have questions or there are a number of sections you have to leave blank (i.e. what the medication is for).

Step B:

1. Since you will be doing this long distance, the best way to compile the list is to call your parent’s pharmacy.  Ask them to fax or mail you their medication record from the last 6 months.  By having 6 months worth of records, you will be able to notice if your parent has not refilled a medication that they should have.  We call this non-adherence. It is possible that the pharmacy may not release the records to you without consent from your parent because of HIPPA.  Don’t let this small barrier deter you from compiling their list.  Just ask the pharmacist what needs to be done so that you can obtain access. Also, be sure to ask your parents if they take any over-the-counter medications or vitamins/supplements.

2. The medication record from the pharmacy should list all the information needed to fill out the list, with the exception of why your parent is taking it.  If you don't already know why your parent is taking the medication, call your parent and ask them why they are taking the medication. As in section A above, contact the pharmacy or prescribing physician to fill in why your parent is taking this medication. Also, be sure to add the over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements to this list.

Link to Download the Medication List so that you can fill it in, visit:

Categories: Caregiving, Health
About The Author
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Jen Wolfe, PharmD, is a Certified Geriatric Pharmacist. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. She provides her clients with Comprehensive Medication Reviews in order to identify and eliminate medication-related problems.

Dr. Wolfe has experienced first hand how challenging caregiving can be, even for a healthcare professional. She gives caregivers the knowledge and know-how to deal with daily healthcare challenges, and the ability to prepare and prevail through any emergency situation. Through video conferencing, Dr. Wolfe is able to work with caregivers across the country.

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