Ask a Pharmacist: Being Rx Ready During COVID-19

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Home Instead Senior Care shares advice from a pharmacist on your most commonly asked questions

While managing a prescription regimen can feel daunting even in the best of times, it’s important to ensure medications continue to be filled and taken as recommended to remain strong and healthy in the midst of a pandemic. Having the most up-to-date information and a thoughtful plan in place to manage prescription and over-the-counter drugs safely can help alleviate stress and reduce potential hazards. With supplements, treatments and advice flooding the internet, it’s critical to rely on trusted sources, like pharmacists, for the most accurate information about medication management.

"The current pandemic has left many families and older adults feeling overwhelmed and underprepared,” said Lakelyn Hogan, gerontologist and caregiver advocate at Home Instead Senior Care. “With so much misinformation and ambiguity surrounding COVID-19, medications are top of mind for many.”

Medication mismanagement is among the most serious health threats facing seniors. So, Home Instead reached out to Dr. Kyle Decker, PharmD, chief operating officer of Simple Meds, for guidance.

“In the middle of so much uncertainty, we’ve seen people turning to their community pharmacy for answers, or even just a calm and trusted voice,” Dr. Decker said. “Pharmacists are on the front line, working diligently to ensure patients get the medications and treatment they need.”

Dr. Decker shares answers to some of the most common questions pharmacists are receiving right now:

  • Q: I need to pick up medication. Can I make a quick trip to my community pharmacy?

A: Older adults and others who are at high risk should follow the advice of the CDC, which includes staying home. A physical visit to the pharmacy isn’t required to pick up the medication you need. Consider home deliveries before your supplies run short. Direct-mail pharmacy services like Simple Meds can automatically organize and sort your medications, packaging each dose into clearly labeled packets that are mailed to you every month. With so many other things to focus on, knowing your medication will be delivered safely to your door can be a source of relief during these difficult times. Many states are also temporarily permitting pharmacists to dispense emergency refills when a doctor visit isn’t possible.

  • Q: I need to see my doctor, but my appointment was canceled. What do I do now?

A: You’re not out of luck! Many doctor’s offices and insurance carriers offer remote or telehealth options to obtain medical advice in the comfort of your own home. Through a virtual health service, you can receive real-time care from a healthcare professional via video chat. If you begin to experience new or unidentified symptoms, reach out to your healthcare provider to determine the next best step. A video chat or phone call with a healthcare professional is a simple and convenient way to get what you need when you can’t physically visit the office.

  • Q: Do I need to stock up on medication? What medications should I have on hand?

A: Continue filling as you have always filled, rather than buying more than you need. Stockpiling months of medication only leads to a tighter supply of popular medications. However, if you’re running short on the basics like acetaminophen, consider purchasing an extra bottle to have on hand. Acetaminophen is among the best home treatments for many mild illnesses.

  • Q: I don’t have hand sanitizer at home. Is it safe to make my own?

A: Regularly cleaning hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the most important step in prevention of spreading illness. Hand sanitizer is the next best thing if soap is not readily available, such as while you run essential errands. However, the FDA recommends that consumers do not attempt to make their own hand sanitizer. When made incorrectly, hand sanitizer can be ineffective, and users can suffer from skin burns.

  • Q: I’ve seen a lot of conflicting information about COVID-19 online. How do I know what is true?

A: There’s an abundance of articles and research studies available regarding COVID-19. Some are reputable, and some are not. Now more than ever, it’s important to think critically about the sources you’re using to get information and avoid information overload. Choose a reputable source like the CDC, WHO or your local health authority and commit to checking it once in the morning and afternoon, rather than grazing throughout the day. While it is important to stay current, too much information can contribute to high stress levels. If you have any concerns or questions regarding something you’ve read on the internet, contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

There’s no time like the present to establish a safe system or regimen to manage your medications, and your local pharmacy or a medication service like Simple Meds can help. To learn more, connect with a Simple Meds representative at 615-645-6337. For more resources on medication management, reach out to your local Home Instead Senior Care office or visit


Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise network provides personalized care, support and education to enhance the lives of aging adults and their families. Today, the network is the world's leading provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,200 independently owned and operated franchises that provide more than 80 million hours of care annually throughout the United States and 12 other countries. Local Home Instead Senior Care offices employ approximately 90,000 CAREGivers℠ worldwide who provide basic support services that enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. Home Instead Senior Care franchise owners partner with clients and their family members to help meet varied individual needs. Services span the care continuum – from providing personal care to specialized Alzheimer’s care and hospice support. Also available are family caregiver education and support resources.

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Dan Wieberg
Home Instead Senior Care
+1 (402) 575-5970
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