Managing Multiple Medicines with a Flip Chart

by Good Girl Gordie

Summer 2018


I assisted an overwhelmed family member who has to take more than 20 medications

multiple times a day. Filling the daily pill boxes takes an enormous amount of time and

interruptions can be devastating to the process. The boxes can spill out and create

more confusion. So I made a flip chart for the medications, based on pilot and hospital

flip charts for procedures. The physical flipping of individual cards keeps your place if

interrupted. It will take time to set this up but will be quick to maintain once completed.

This solution was inspired by having read “The Organized Mind” by Daniel J. Levitin

PhD.

I use 3×5 notecards, a hole punch, a pencil, a magnifying glass to read the pill codes,

and a snap ring to keep the cards together. Six cardboard dividers separate the times of

day are labeled : Wake, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Sleep, and As Needed. Each

medication has one informational card for the first dose placed in the appropriate time

section. Multiple cards for repeated dosages of the same medication need only have a

medication name and number i.e. 2 of 3 or 3 of 3 placed in their proper time section.

Since doctors may change a dose often, add or toss a card away, or reshuffle to the

appropriate time section. A long paper list can become unreadable with frequent

changes and cross outs. The stack of cards can grow or shrink as needed. The flexibility

of the flip system will customize to each person’s requirements. Use the back of a card

for reorder dates or paste a mini calendar printed from an online source as a checklist.

The chart should be stored where the pill bottles are kept. A ringed planner could be

used as well.

Below is my suggestion for an informational card. You need not duplicate much of the

information from the bottles or prescription sheets but write a few words for the most

important data of value to you. Stickers and decorative tape can help a person with low

vision match a card to a bottle.

  • Med name/mg: (copied from bottle)
  • Shape/Color/Code#: (to help identify the pill, this will change with different manufacturers)
  • Why: (you can forget what the med is for if it has been used long term) Rules: (i.e.-no calcium an hour before or after)

Upper right corner is the card number ( 1of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3 or take 2 )

Here is an example.

I hope sharing this can ease a dreaded routine for someone. Thank you for reading this

article.

Good Girl Gordie

4 thoughts on “Managing Multiple Medicines with a Flip Chart

  • August 9, 2018 at 5:26 PM
    Permalink

    Fantastic idea! Thank you so much for the details

    Reply
  • August 12, 2018 at 9:42 PM
    Permalink

    This is wonderful, I wish I had this information a few years back when my Dad had a heart valve replacement.

    Reply
  • August 17, 2018 at 1:02 AM
    Permalink

    Thank you for your comment and thank you to Carie for publishing this article.

    Reply
  • August 27, 2018 at 10:47 PM
    Permalink

    Wouldn’t it be better to ask the pharmacist to pre-pack the medications in a Webster-Pak? I have this done for my mother who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimers, and it is a much more reliable system than packing pill boxes yourself when multiple medications are required. Plus, you can take the packages back to the pharmacist when you notice that not all the tablets have been taken (a real issue!) so they can work out what has been missed and make arrangements with the doctor.

    Reply

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