Bilingual help to take medications correctly now available in Tagalog and English.

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Bilingual medication adherence aids in Tagalog and English are now available to Filipino people to assist them in taking their medications correctly.

“Around one in two elderly people on more than one medication fail to take their medications as prescribed. And research confirms that if a person isn’t proficient in English, the problem’s even bigger*,” says pharmacist, Gerard Stevens.

“With 25% of those over 65 on four medications or more, there are huge communication gaps in what people understand the medications are for, how they should be taken and whether they’ll ever be able to stop them,” said Gerard Stevens.

“Many older people from a non English speaking background struggle with their medications as do their spouses who often share the same background,” explains Gerard Stevens. “And if they aren’t thinking or remembering as well as they used to, English skills are one of the early things to go.

Gerard Stevens advised that Pharmacists are now able to provide further support to patients with low English proficiency by offering them translated information on medication adherence aids known as Multi-Lingual Webster-paks where medication information in English and a second language appear side by side.

“Medication adherence aids have been shown to make medication taking safer and more effective,” claims Gerard Stevens, who is also Managing Director of Webstercare®, manufacturers of Webster-paks.

“For example, our Webster-pak consists of Monday to Sunday down the pack and then across the pack Breakfast Lunch Dinner Bedtime where each compartment is filled by the pharmacist with your exact medications (2, 3, or 4 tablets as prescribed) – down to a half or quarter of a tablet. All the person has to do is pop the compartment and they know they’re taking the right medications at the right time.

“At the top of the pack is your photo and a list of all your medications and dosages. This is vital if perhaps there is an unfortunate incident, so when an ambulance is called the paramedics can see straight-away what medications the person is taking,” said Gerard Stevens.

Bilingual Webster-paks are available in 20 languages – Chinese, Arabic, Croatian, Dutch, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Macedonian, Maltese, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Serbian, Tagalog, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese which cover the most commonly spoken languages in Australia other than English.
“We are getting wonderful feedback that these bilingual Webster-packs, where English and the second language are written side by side, are helping people who are not proficient in English to know what medications to take and when.
“It also allows the pharmacist or doctor to check whether the medication has been taken,” Gerard Stevens said.
The bilingual Webster-pak is available in the following 20 languages: Chinese, Arabic, Croatian, Dutch, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Macedonian, Maltese, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Serbian, Tagalog, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese – and Webstercare are intending to introduce more in the future.

Bilingual brochures about the Webster-paks are also available in Arabic, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Greek, Italian, Spanish and Vietnamese as well as English.

BACKGROUND

Some facts
About 140,000 hospital admissions annually are thought to be related to the medicines people take. People aged over 65 years are the biggest users of medicines and because of their age, are more at risk of side effects and medication incidents.

A study of veterans suggested that a significant proportion were on 15 medications at once.

Number of medications 45–64 years 65–74 years 75–84 years 85 years or over
Three 14.5% 17.9% 15.9% 20.9%
Four or five 12.7% 20.1% 23.7% 22%
Six or more 6% 13.1% 17% 16.2%

(Source National Prescribing Service)

Around one in two elderly people on more than one medication fail to take their medications as prescribed.

The intervention of pharmacists has been shown to make medication taking safer.

Research has shown that dose administration aids:

  • help patients take their right medicines at the right time
  • make it convenient and easy to take medicines
  • improve continuity of supply.
  • Give patients greater confidence in their ability to manage their own medicines in their home and there’s been evidence of health and quality of life benefits and the decrease in their care needs.
  • Gives peace of mind to relatives and carers.

Webstercare:
This is a company run by pharmacists for pharmacists, devoted to making the process of dispensing and taking medications as safe as possible. The idea is to offer doctors, carers, relatives and patients ‘peace of mind’ by improving medication management.
The growing need for pharmacists to tailor individual dosage schedules represents a major challenge in pharmaceutical care. Webstercare® has a complete range of medication management systems to help pharmacists and doctors do this.
All the Webstercare® systems not only assist in the safer administration of medication but also provide an essential communication tool which requires better communication between the pharmacist, the patient, the carer, the relatives and the prescriber.
Dispensing into Webstercare® systems is seen as a value-added service by the consumer.
The website is www.webstercare.com.au
* Ref: the National Prescribing Service and the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia conducted research into medicine issues faced by people from non English speaking backgrounds and found common problems with following medicine instructions. These included difficulties understanding what to take, when to take it and how often.

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