What our Testers Liked
**This is a home test review posted on behalf of the family who took part.
Nice secure plastic shell packaging, with batteries provided.
What our Testers Disliked
Plastic needed to be cut off, leaving very sharp edges and a certain amount of force required to then open out to remove the container so risk of cutting fingers and some strength required- not for the infirm or confused.
The time can be set either 24 hr clock or 12 hour however, it took me ages to work out how to do this, despite the instructions looking straightforward. The alarms, 4 in possible total are set, as is the time, by a combination of three buttons. This I found quite hard to set up as the instructions and the actions/results seemed at odds.
What is Interesting
Mum struggled to understand she had to tilt it- anything novel is a struggle to comprehend, but there is no chance of her overdosing as the box is very robust. However, in common with a lot of old ladies, she has osteoporosis and the tablets for that- AdCal- are large- about the size of an Extra Strong Mint, for lack of another description. I don't know if this is a common
medicine for the condition but as osteoporosis is so prevalent, I'd imagine it is so that causes a problem. I guess I could half them and set the alarm for very slightly after the first, to make it easier. Any normal sized tablet would be fine as the individual tray would hold loads.
What our Testers Said
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS AND SET UP
Be prepared to cut the product out of the packaging (manufacturer is looking at easy open boxes as alternative)
Pill box entirely visible to consumer.
Contained instructions, hard plastic pill container and small key, warranty and 4 circular bits of paper-more about them later.
Once the batteries (4) were inserted, the first instructions were to gently press the button to open the box. After all sorts of pressing and poking, I realised the key was used underneath the lock, then it opened relatively easily but the instructions didn't mention anything about the key until the last page, where it told you to lock the container
There are 28 spaces for tablets and with a central circular bit of paper, made with 3 tabs to keep in place, marking the day and dose number. The circular bits of paper didn't fit too well but when the lid was closed, were quite adequate. They were the guides for the timing of the tablet 'gate' opening- 1x, 2x, 3x or 4x daily. so the box can either last 28 days with one dispensing daily or as little as a week with 4x dispensing,
An alarm rings when the outer portion of the container rotates, at the time chosen, to expose the small tray with the tablets so only one tray out of the 28 with whichever tablets, is
available at a time. The alarm is not particularly loud but very annoying! so not easily ignored. Anyone short of hearing might struggle a bit unless the tone was at a level that hearing-impaired could register.
Once the tray is tilted, the tablets drop out and the alarm stops.
Mum is still coming to terms with it. She doesn't particularly like it as it removes a bit of independence and the carers can't see if the previous day's tablets have been taken, unlike with the usual weekly pill trays.
In short- robust, tamper-proof gadget, does what it says,
Awkward to set up, would need to be done by carer and once the person was used to it, would be very useful. Instructions could do with re-jigging.
AFTER FIRST USE
I think we've got the feel for the pill container now. The idea is great- no meddling with meds, only the correct amount dispensed, no chance of confusing other days' tablets with today's as only one section opens at a time, tamperproof and needs a bit of savvy/luck/almost force to open the thing up to refill.
However, has to be said that mum hates it, doesn't seem to hear the alarm, struggles to remember how to actually tip the thing to get the tablets out and feels it's an invasion into her privacy/comment about her inability to manage meds by herself. The carers don't like it much either, as they don't seem to be able to tell if she's had the tablets or not though this may just be an awkward carer as why should this have been different from her weekly strip box? I've altered the alarm time to make it go off/open when the first carer arrives instead of at the time when mum said she originally took them so that should help a bit.
I think, as with all things regarding Alzheimers and change, it takes ages for the person to get used to something new- maybe a couple months instead of a couple hours for most people. I suppose that makes testing awkward to determine. From my point of view, I like the thing. It means I can know that all meds are there for her, that she can't overdose though of course. She may be underdosing but that could have happened before, and I can plan her meds quite far in advance, knowing what needs ordered.
The Medibox is now considered a great success from both mum's and the carers' point of view! They like the controlability and dependability of the medicating .
So, all in all, it is a great success. Good to hear about another key, should the one be lost, and the flimsy paper insets with the days or portion of days, is not a problem as they are within the unit and not subject to wear.
I'd also amend the comment about the size of the individual pill compartments: tablets the size of 'Extra Strong Mints' fit without a problem.