Hospitals Are All About Helping People … We Have to Find a Way to Help Patients Take Their Meds
By: Anonymous Critical Care Nurse
“Maybe today’s the day I’ll think of a new way to help my patients swallow their pills!”
Many children, adolescents and adults have a difficult time swallowing pills. The pills are either too big or too chalky, and can cause gagging. Sometimes those pills have to be crushed up or hidden in food so that they can be swallowed easily, but doing that means compromising the pill’s effectiveness.
It’s a problem we’ve had to deal with a lot in the hospital. I was a critical care nurse for twenty years, and more often than not, I had to come up with different ways to get patients to take their medicines. It wasn’t that they weren’t willing to take the pills, it’s that they couldn’t take the pills … they couldn’t swallow them.
I remember this one time a patient was admitted who required a certain medication. Unfortunately, the medicine was only available in a large pill, and the patient was having an extremely difficult time swallowing it. We had to get creative and figure out a way to get this man his medicine. We brainstormed and decided to crush up the pill and mix it into some juice so he could drink it down. It worked, though it did make the medication slightly less effective.
As nurses, we are constantly having to come up with new ways to get patients to swallow their medications. Not only have I had to crush up pills and put them in juice, I’ve also placed pills way back in a patient’s throat to help them swallow, and I’ve even had patients sit up straight and tuck their chins down to try to close the airway momentarily to be able to swallow the pill.
I always hoped for an easier way to help these patients … and thought it would have been great to have a coating to help the pills go down easily. Recently, a friend of mine told me about a product called MEDCOAT®. She says it is a pill coating that makes pills slippery and able to slide down people’s throats more easily. She also said it covers up the chalky taste. This is exactly what I was looking for! I looked it up and started telling my coworkers and patients about it. Those who have tried it tell me it’s amazing how much MEDCOAT® has helped them. While I’m no longer working in the CCU, I will continue to tell everyone I can about this great pill coating in hopes of helping everyone who has trouble swallowing pills.