Tuesday, October 1 2013, 05:58 PM MDT
Grant Helping Utah Veterans
(KUTV) SALT LAKE CITY – Forgetting to take prescription medication can have dangerous effects on patients, especially veterans who need to take their meds on a daily basis.
Community Nursing Services sends out registered nurses to hundreds of veterans here in Utah, but the problem they have been noticing is that many veterans can’t remember to take their prescription medications.
For one World War II veteran, Elwood Meckley, he was taking the medication Cumidin to regulate his blood pressure, but it became too dangerous to take. "We noticed he was missing as much as 5 doses a week," said Elwood’s daughter, Carolyn Galentine.
Elwood would either forget to take the medication, or mix up the days. The registered nurse who checked on him, Mitzi Clapp, says this was creating a big problem. "I would check his blood level and it would be too low," she said.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Disabled American Veterans Service Trust, Community Nursing Services is able to help out veterans like Elwood, by giving them prescription medication dispensers, free of charge.
The medication dispensers actually talk to patients, it reminds them to take their pills, whether it is once a day or 4 times a day.
"It will activate and the light will flash red and say 'it's time to take your medication'," Clapp said.
The dispenser also alerts family members or a nurse if the medication is missed. The device gives off alerts for about an hour to the patient, and if the pill is missed, the machine separates the drugs so when a nurse visits, they can keep track of what medication the patient is taking.
The device is expensive: $1200 up front and then a monthly fee to alert family members to problems, which costs an extra $75 a month.
It's a fee many veterans can't afford, says Mary Gardner, vice president of business development for Community Nursing Services.
Thanks to a generous grant from Disabled American Veterans for $25,000, Community Nursing Services is able to afford 25 of the Phillips Medication Dispensers for veterans in need.
"It came as a surprise. The grant application went in and we received a check," Gardner says. "As we get these out into the field into patient’s homes, we'll be able to serve veterans more in the future."
Community Nursing Services hopes to apply for more grant money to help more veterans.
By Lana Groves
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