Chapter 4: Administering meds
Giving medication by mouth – Pill form
It was harder to get Mom to sit up so that she wouldn’t choke when taking her pills than it was to get her to actually take them.
If you are helping the person who is ill take medication in pill form, following a few simple rules will help. Click the arrows to view the rules.
1. Wash and dry your hands before and after touching any medication. Be sure your hands are dry.
2. Follow all specific instructions for giving the medication. For example, the label may specify that it needs to be given on an empty stomach or with milk or food.
3. Help the person to sit upright to make swallowing easier and safer.
4. Offer the person a drink of water prior to taking a pill. Moistening the mouth helps with swallowing.
Watch the video for more helpful information.
If the person is having difficulty swallowing the pills, here are some things you can try:
- Some people find taking a small bite of a banana helps to lubricate their throat.
- Consider mixing the medication with applesauce, jam, ice cream, or pudding to help move the pills down the throat.
It’s important to check with a pharmacist before changing how medications are given, as some medications should not be crushed, chewed, or removed from the capsule.
As a person’s ability to swallow changes, you may need to consider alternative ways to give medication. Talk to a pharmacist or the prescribing healthcare provider if this happens.