As the new year begins, I have heard many friends talk about their desire to simplify their lives. Whether they seek less screen time, more time with family or in nature, “simplify” has become a mantra.
For me, caring for a person with a chronic disease has made me simplify some things. I enjoy small victories, quiet moments and appreciate family time in ways that I couldn’t see before the disease emerged. But managing chronic illness is time consuming and complex, and the way that health care systems are structured makes processes more challenging than they need be.
This month I am working with my daughter’s pharmacist to simplify the refill schedule for her medications. When you have five or more medications and they are prescribed by different doctors, you can end up making trips to the pharmacy several times per month. As you know, public and private insurers will not cover more that 30 to 90 days of a medication at a time AND they will not refill a prescription until you are within 7 days of the next refill date. It can therefore be difficult to coordinate you refills to the same date, but here is one strategy:
1. Book a meeting with your pharmacist and bring all of your medications to the meeting, whether or not that pharmacy filled the prescription.
2. Determine whether you should ask your doctors to write new prescriptions so that you can fill all of your prescriptions on the same date. This can be challenging depending on the number of doctors and their willingness to work on this with you. A nurse in the doctor’s office may be able to help. Send them this blog!
3. Make a plan for the pharmacist to only disburse the number of pills for each medication that are necessary to get you to the beginning of the next month. This will mean that you will have to make multiple trips to the pharmacy for this month, but it will be worth it to consolidate all of your medications on one refill date.
My goal is to make one trip per month to the pharmacy for all prescription meds, with another back-up trip if necessary for other supplies.
My meeting with our pharmacist is in two weeks. I will let you know how it goes!