Thursday, December 18, 2008

A No Cost Gift Idea with Lots of Benefits

Frank Federico, Executive Director, Strategic Partners at IHI and former MITSS Board Member, was kind enough to send along a wonderful and useful idea for holiday giving --

Medications are the most common intervention in health care. It is estimated that over half of older adults take 5 medications or more. In addition, many may be taking over-the-counter and/or herbal remedies. When these patients visit a hospital or their doctor’s office, it is difficult for them to remember all of their medications. The names of the medications do not make this task any easier.

Jennie Chin Hansen from AARP came up with a great idea. Encourage people to give their loved ones a list for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I am jumping ahead. Get started right now. For Christmas, why not ensure that each member of your family, immediate and extended, has an up-to date medication list. Imagine how much easier it will be for the patient to remember the medications he/she is taking, and for health care providers to review when providing care. And, promise to help keep that list up to date.

There are many formats to choose Check out (Medication List) or visit the Institute for Healthcare Improvement ( ) for examples from participants in the 5 Million Lives Campaign (key word search: medication list).

By the way, if you or your loved ones do not take medications, how about a card that indicates that you do not take medications. In the event of an emergency, healthcare providers will not have to spend time trying to collect information about your medications.

Frank Federico
Executive Director, Strategic Partners


  1. I think this is a great idea. Although I talk to loved ones about the importance of this issue, completing one for them or getting that ball rolling will probably make all the difference. I see this on my new holiday "To Do" list.

    Thank you so much,

  2. I have to say I am one of those patients guilty of NOT doing this. I am so embarrassed when they ask what medications are you on and what I knew prior to the appointment goes right out of my head. Given my history and the work I do, I should have one of these on me. My next doctors appt. would be extremely different -- instead of me describing color and shape, I could pull out my list.

    My gift to myself this year, will be to take the time to make myself a medication list that I will keep in my wallet. For those of you who are like me -- please join me and take the time to do your list of medications.

    Wishing all of you a Healthy Happy Holiday Season!

    Linda Kenney



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