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What is a Pill Dispenser?

The pill dispenser is an easy to use tablet dispenser which can assist in the management of medication and allows the correct dose to be available at the correct time of day or night. This reduces the risk of the service user failing to take their medication or taking too much inadvertently.

The pill dispenser is one of a range of telecare devices deployed to assist individuals live independently.

The anticipated outcomes in relation to the use of the pill dispenser within the telecare are:

  • Service users have an increased ability to self medicate.
  • Family Carers feel more supported at home and are more confident.
  • Reduced need for medication prompt visits from carers.

It also highlighted that service users with early onset of dementia were able to understand the prompts from the device and manage this process, whilst those with more severe symptoms appeared unable to cope.

How the Pill Dispenser Works

The dispenser is programmed with times medication has to be taken, and an alarm sounds to prompt the user to take their medication. It will only allow the tablets for that specific dose to be available to take from the dispenser. If the medication has not been taken, then the dispenser reminds the user that a dose is due. An alert will be sounded if the medication is not accessed within the following hour. There are two types of pill dispensers supplied by Bon Accord Care:

  • A stand-alone unit, whereby the alarm will only be heard in the house.
  • A unit connected via the Community Alarm system, whereby the alarm will sound in the property, but will also alert the control centre if the medication is not taken and a key holder will be notified in the same manner as for other Community Alarm calls.  This unit will only be supplied if a Community Alarm system is in the property.

Supply of a Pill Dispenser

Bon Accord Care will only supply a pill dispenser if a family member or nominated responsible person is willing to take responsibility for filling the device and monitoring its use.

A full assessment must be carried out and the professional involved must undertake to review the use of the device after two and six weeks. The assessment must ensure that the service user is able to operate the device and understand its use.

The nominated person must be willing to accept this responsibility and sign the request form accordingly.

If this unit is no longer required or you do not wish to use it please return to the address below.

If at any time you require further advice or assistance please do not hesitate to contact the Telecare service.

Physical and Operational Issues

A number of physical and operational issues have been identified with the pill dispenser. These include:

  • It is not air tight, and would be unsuitable for pills which require to be kept in an air tight container. 
  • It can be unsuitable for travelling as the internal tray can move and affect the operation.
  • Unit must be kept on a flat surface.
  • It is unsuitable to be stored in a fridge. 
  • The carousel has a finite capacity. 
  • It is not tamper proof and batteries and pills can be easily accessed. 
  • It will not replace visits by carers for other needs. 
  • The lid on the carousel is not reflective and it cannot be placed in sunlight.
  • Some people have found the unit difficult to fill due to its shape.
  • Some people have found difficult to remove wrongly allocated tablets. 
  • Medication changes have to be monitored by the responsible person to ensure new medication fits the device.
  • Service users can remove batteries and this requires to be checked on a daily basis by the responsible person.
  • Family or the responsible person will be liable and responsible for dispensing and checking the operation of the unit including battery replacement.
  • There was not a maximum level pill indicator within the carousel. 
  • Always ensure the instructions supplied with the dispenser are adhered to.

All these points must be considered as part of the professional assessment.


If the request is for a stand alone dispenser complete the Pill Dispenser Request.

If request is for a Community Alarm linked dispenser complete the Pill Dispenser Request in conjunction with a Telecare Request.

Return completed request forms to:

  • Telecare Co-ordinator
    Community Equipment Services
    Units 3/4 Whitemyres Avenue
    AB16 6HQ
    Tel: 01224 788616

Back to the Telecare Request Forms page.