People in Forth Valley with impaired vision can now be helped to ‘see’ what medication they have to take, thanks to electronic wizardry. A pilot scheme with NHS Forth Valley and the Stirling Telecare Partnership includes the use of ‘talking labels. These are small recording devices about the size of a credit card which are attached to prescription containers. They carry a message naming the medication and giving dose and other warnings.
The pilot is already under way in the Callander area, where local pharmacist David Hunter has two patients undergoing the trial and has been supplying details in prescription bags. Now NHS Forth Valley Telehealthcare Lead Ann Allison is advising patients in other areas to contact their local community pharmacist to see if they would be willing to become involved, or to e mail her.
She explained: “An inability to read medicine instructions can lead to people taking the wrong pill at the wrong time or at the wrong dose. Some tablets urge people not to drink alcohol whilst taking them, or to stay out of the sun. Others carry warnings about when to call a doctor if there are side effects. Talking labels could provide the antidote to dangerous mistakes.”
The labels not only help people with poor sight but can also be useful for anyone who is forgetful about when to take their medicines. During the pilot period they will be supplied free of charge and are easy to use. Once in place, the patient can hear the name of the medication and any other necessary information by pushing a large button. An added benefit is that talking labels help give relatives and carers more confidence that medicines are being taken correctly.
With an ageing population – the number of people aged over 75 in Forth Valley is set to almost double in the next 20 years – talking labels could also make it easier for patients to stay in their own homes, rather than requiring carers or going into care.
Talking labels are one of several technology solutions to help people manage their medication independently, and other solutions will also be piloted in partnership.
People in the Callander area interested in the scheme should contact the Trossachs Pharmacy, Geisher Road, Callander, on 01877 330016 or email email@example.com
For patients outwith the Callander area, they should either contact their local community pharmacist to see whether they would be willing to be involved or email Ann Allison at firstname.lastname@example.org
NHS Forth Valley
Castle Business Park
t - 01786 463031