According to the NHS, 25% of the UK population has a long-term condition of some kind, and 25% of people aged over 60 in the UK have multiple long-term conditions.
An ageing population means the number of people taking multiple medicines is also steadily increasing.
Keeping track of this medication can be tricky; taking the wrong prescription medication at the wrong time can lead to health complications. This is where dosette boxes come in. They make it much easier to properly organise and administer medication for yourself or your loved one.
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This is a plastic box which keeps your medicines organised within smaller compartments. These compartments indicate which pills need to be taken on which days, and at which times of the day e.g. a Monday afternoon or a Saturday evening. Specific times can be noted as well, such as 15.00.
These boxes usually contain a week’s worth of medication. Often, this consists of 28 compartments (seven days, and four different times for each of these days).
You or your pharmacist will put the pills within the dosette box that’ll be taken over these 7 days.
Some dosette boxes are prescribed by a pharmacist, while others can be purchased. Non-prescribed boxes are only suitable for people who understand what medication to take and can do so by themselves.
Not all medication is suitable for a dosette box. Some prescriptions have to be taken ‘when required’ - such as when a migraine occurs - and others need to be kept in their original packaging.
A dosette box is most effectively used when incorporated into your daily routine. Creating a daily routine with medication in mind will make sticking to a schedule and taking your pills at the same time each day much easier.
Depending on the instructions you’ve been given by your pharmacist or another medical professional, try to get into the habit of taking medication at easy-to-remember intervals, such as:
You can also set an alarm to sound whenever it’s time to take medication. This isn’t necessarily a long-term solution, but can be helpful in the beginning when you’re getting used to taking new medication.
Keeping this box in an obvious location will further help you remember to take your medication. Sensible places include:
Your family members or any carers may also be able to help track your medication and when it needs taking.
There are lots of advantages to using a dosette box, including:
An easy and convenient way to store medication, keeping it better organised in the process. This organisation reduces confusion, particularly for people with dementia
They make sure the right dose and correct medicines are taken
They avoid similar-looking medication (or medication with similar names) getting mixed up
All medication is kept in one place, making it easy to access. They’re also tamper-proof and sealed
They minimise the chance of you or a loved one forgetting to take a specific type of medication
They provide a visual way of tracking what needs taking and when, including the specific times of day
Family members, close friends and carers are also able to monitor whether somebody has taken their medication
They’re either provided for free or purchased at a low price
They support independence in care, as people can better look after their own medication routine
A pharmacist or care worker can load it in advance, making the process even simpler for the person using it
There are a few different ways to get a dosette box.
If your loved one has a complicated medical regime - they may take several types of medicine each day at regular intervals - a pharmacist might choose to provide this medication within a dosette box.
Under the Equality Act (2010), if you find taking medication difficult, community pharmacy services have to provide alternatives to try and make this easier.
For example, Courtside Surgery in Bristol has pharmacists who will assess people on an individual basis to see whether or not they’ll benefit from a dosette box.
Simple Online Pharmacy organises pills for NHS patients who receive at least four different medications. To use this free service, you need to register and provide the details of your GP. Once you’ve registered, you let them know which medication you require, and this will be ordered on your behalf. Your required medication will then be sent to you in easy-to-open pouches.
This whole process - from registration to delivery - usually takes around 48-72 hours.
You can also buy dosette boxes (often referred to as 7-day pill box organisers or pill cases) online or in a shop, including through retailers such as Amazon. Standard boxes with 28 slots start from around the £5 mark. Other variations are available to purchase as well, such as boxes in different shapes and sizes and with varying numbers of slots.
Unless your GP has determined so for a specific clinical reason, you don’t need a weekly repeat prescription for a dosette box.
The medication stored within a dosette box is often organised for 7 days anyway, such as 28 slots for 28 pieces of medication which will be taken throughout the week.
Dosette boxes aren’t always available for free, but your local pharmacy or a different service will often provide them free of charge with prescription drugs.
They can also be purchased online or in a shop.
Often, a dosette box and a 7-day pill box are the same things.
The most common kind of dosette box has four rows, with each of these representing a different time of day to take medication, such as when waking up, during the afternoon, in the evening and before going to sleep. These rows then contain seven separate compartments, with each of these compartments representing a day of the week. This means there are 28 slots in total - enough for the seven days of the week.
If eligible, some companies and online pharmacies - such as Simple Online Pharmacy - provide larger dosette boxes, and these are different from 7-day pill boxes. These boxes contain 28 or 56 days' worth of medication. They also come with all medication pre-organised, removing much of the stress and hassle from this process.
You can order one of these for free if you’re on four or more NHS prescription items.
Healthcare professionals such as trained nurses in a nursing care home will endeavour to make it as easy as possible for residents to take their medicines. The Equality Act (2010) requires any necessary steps or adjustments to be taken, and multi-compartment compliance aids - such as a dosette box - can make a huge difference.
Care home providers should work out the most effective system for supplying each resident with their medication, based on individual care and support needs.
Often, dosette boxes promote the independence of residents in care homes while further encouraging dignity in care.
Searching for elderly care homes near you can be a stressful and time-consuming operation. Thankfully, we’ve removed much of the difficulty from this process and will quickly connect you or your loved ones to the UK’s best care homes.
‘Dosette’ is a French word which translates to ‘pod’ in English. A dosette box refers to a series of pods or small compartments. This could also be known as a plastic tray, a blister pack or a multi-compartment compliance aid.
Dosette boxes are aimed at people who find it difficult to properly track their medication regime. These people often take numerous types of medication each day, and at different times as well. Many people qualify for a dosette box under the Equality Act (2010). Otherwise, a community pharmacist will determine whether you’re eligible, depending on the prescribed medicines you take.
Yes, some pharmacies provide dosette boxes. They’ll do so if you or your family member takes lots of different pills at different times of the day. This is because the individual compartments clearly highlight which pills need to be taken and when, making medication management much simpler.