Thursday, 24 November 2011

Organising Medical Supplies: Before

I have had a problem for a while about how to store all my medical stuff.

Searching online, though it did reveal some beautiful and clever ideas, was never going to give me a solution for my particular problem. Most normal people just don't have this much medication! Actually, the problem is not just medication but equipment, braces and splints, mobility aids, etc. 

There are two drawers on casters underneath my side of the bed, which are currently used for the purpose of storing medical stuff. They are about the right size (approximately 2.5 ft x 2 ft each), but as you can see from the photographs, there's not much of a system, and I often have to rummage around to find things. When I'm putting my pharmacy deliveries away, I put things where there's space, rather than with other similar items. Likewise, if things are needed in a hurry, they are taken from the closest packet. That sounds perfectly reasonable until I remember that sometimes these packets get moved while I'm stirring the drawer looking for something else. Which means that another packet gets used the next time. So I have numerous part-used packets of various medications, making it almost impossible to know how much I have in total.

Yes, you're right - this drawer also contains microwave popcorn and knitting yarn

The problems:
  • Volume: Up to a month's supply at a time of 19 different regular medications, plus 'as required' medications, equipment, splints and braces and medical records (all currently stored in different places around the house)
  • Access: I need to be able to get to everything easily, sometimes in an emergency. If I need a rescue medication in the middle of the night, I need it quickly, and I don't want to have to put the light on or have to move lots of other things to get to what I need.
  • Labeling: The system needs to be clear to me (obviously) but also to my husband if he needs to get something for me in a hurry, and to friends/paramedics/nurses/anyone else who might be looking after me.
  • Usability: There needs to be some kind of system so that the older things are used first, and so that I can keep track of how much I have, and can request more supplies from my GP *before* stocks run perilously low
  • Small things: syringes, bottle adaptors, nebuliser filters, gloves, dressings, etc. These tend to 'float' around the drawer or sink to the bottom, never to be seen again.
  • I need to keep a bottle of water, straws, a cup and snacks by the bed (preferably out of sight) so that I can take medication, including things that need to be taken with food, or dissolved in water. The straws are so that I can drink while lying down.
  • Non-prescription medications(e.g. Tums/Rennies, vitamins) and non-medical things (e.g. ginger, strong mints, hard candies - for nausea) are not currently stored in the bedroom with the other medications. I think that it might be helpful to have everything in one place. 
I haven't totally sorted out all of those problems yet, but I'm well on the way with it. Look out for the 'after' photographs tomorrow and an explanation of how I'm beginning to bring order to chaos!

This post was written as part of NHBPM - 30 health posts in 30 days:

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