Medication Dispenser FAQ
How do I set up my medication dispenser?
Installation instructions are slightly different for each version: cellular, landline-connected, or local-announcements only. We are including the setup instructions in the PDF's below.
Please note: if you have a VOIP phone connection, where your phone service comes through your internet provider, please email us for additional setup instructions. Additionally, if your phone is required to dial 9 before dialing out, this requirement will need to be removed before proceeding.
- PDF: Medication dispenser installation (landline automated)
- PDF: Medication dispenser installation (cellular automated)
- PDF: Medication dispenser installation (local announcements only)
The above PDF's also include instructions for setting the time of day and the alarm times.
What types of notifications can I receive when there is a missed medication?
The medication dispensers generate alerts when there is a missed (late) dose, a tray jam (malfunction), or a power failure.
Our landline automated and cellular automated medication dispensers offer text, email, and/or automated call notifications. The local-announcements medication dispenser provides local alerts only -- the flashing light and the buzzer.
Automated phone call alerts are sequential - the first person listed will be called at the same time that texts and emails are sent. If the first person listed acknowledges the call by pressing "1", no further calls will be made for that particular incident.
For HIPAA compliance, identifying information is never included in any text, email, or automated call alert.
Can I manage the medication dispenser online?
Depending on what type of medication dispenser you have, yes. Two of our medication dispensers (the automated landline version and the automated cellular version) have an online portal. If you need your credentials to be sent to you again, please contact us.
What should I do if the alarm will not shut off?
Gently push the compartment door up (open) until you hear a click (while the blue lid is still on and locked into place).
How do I open and close the blue lid?
To open: Insert the round key into the lock, depress the lid slightly, and rotate the key clockwise to the open/horizontal position. Depress the lid slightly with both hands and rotate clockwise about one inch until the blue lid stops rotating, then lift the blue cover off.
To close: Before closing the lid, look at the red portion of the medication dispenser and make sure the white T-Bar is pushed up to the X. Close the medication door on the blue lid. With the round key in the lock (and in the open/horizontal position), place the blue lid on the medication dispenser, slightly rotated clockwise about an inch. Depress slightly with both hands and rotate counterclockwise about one inch until the blue top's tabs slide under the base unit's tabs. Rotate the key counterclockwise, to the closed/vertical position, and remove the key. You may want to refer to our Tech Tip videos to see this in action (at the top of this page).
How do I adjust the duration of the alarm?
Press and hold the Alarm Test button while you push the MIN button until the desired alarm length (in minutes) is on the time display. Then let go of both the MIN button and the Alarm Test button. While you are adjusting the alarm's length, it's not uncommon for the tray to rotate and the alarm to go off. Simply slide the white T-bar up to stop the alarm. If the tray currently has scheduled medications in it, make sure to rotate the tray counter-clockwise so that the next scheduled dose is to the right of the compartment below the white T-bar.
How can I change the alerts on my medication dispenser?
If there is a change for an existing client, such as changing the type of alert or changing the listed responder, please submit the request in writing to email@example.com.
The alarms are not working. How can I fix this?
The most likely issue is that the alarms were not properly activated. Remove the blue lid. Check to see the lights above each number for the alarms (1, 2, 3, 4) are turned on. If there is a light above a number, this means that particular alarm is active. To turn the numbered alarms on or off, hold the button above that number down until the light directly above it appears, or turns off. Check the upper right corner to ensure the AM/PM time is correct, both for the current time and the alarm; the PM light being on indicates that the time is set for PM. Once you have the alarm(s) set for the correct time(s), put the lid back on (with the medication door closed and the white bar up).
How do I reset my medication dispenser?
For landline medication dispensers: First, remove the blue lid. Unplug the battery, then unplug the power cord; after 30 seconds, plug the battery and A/C adaptor back in and press the AM/PM button until a light turns on under the X on the red cover.
For cellular medication dispensers: First, remove the blue lid. Unplug the battery, then unplug the power cord. Press and hold the Alarm 1 and Alarm 3 buttons at the same time while reconnecting the power cord (the device may beep). Release the Alarm 1 and 3 buttons. Plug in the battery. Press and hold the AM/PM button until you see a light flash at the bottom right corner of the time display. After a few minutes to connect, the correct time should appear on the display. Note: this process requires the backup battery to be at least partially charged.
What is the best way to order extra trays, lids or keys?
To order additional items, please send an email with your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I set the alarm?
To test alarm for “Alarm 1,” hold down the first button under the time display. While holding down the button, simultaneously press the “hour” and then “minute” button to set the alarm time (selecting a time a few minutes in the future is helpful). Also, make sure to select “AM/PM” depending on the time of day. If the alarm does not go off, please check that the alarm light (above 1, 2, 3, or 4) is on, check that the AM/PM selection is correct for both the current time and the alarm. If this does not help, contact us at email@example.com.
How do I test an alarm?
To check the power supply and ensure that the dispenser is functioning, remove the lid and press the Alarm Test button. The alarm will sound until you slide the white "T" bar up to the "X." Remember, the tray will advance forward when you perform this check.
Why isn’t the medication dispenser tray rotating?
Reasons for this malfunction may vary. Here are a few things to check:
- Is the battery plugged in all the way?
Check to make sure the small white plug for the green battery pack is pushed all the way into the small outlet in the battery compartment (it should make a clicking noise). If the dispenser is connected to power but the battery is not fully connected (for instance, if it was accidentally loosened from the outlet inside the battery compartment), the dispenser may still display the time and the buzzer may still go off but the motor inside may not be receiving enough power to rotate the tray.
- Are there too many pills/capsules/tablets in any of the compartments?
If there are too many medications in a single compartment, it may jam the tray and not allow the tray to rotate. It may be necessary to separate doses into multiple compartments and set the alarms for just a few minutes apart.
- Is the medication tray properly aligned in the dispenser?
To check this, make sure the wall of a medication compartment in the tray is directly lined up with a small, vertical hash mark in the lip of the medication dispenser (near 6 o’clock if the medication dispenser were the face of a clock).
- Is the gear wheel stripped?
To check this, take the cover off the medication dispenser. There is a white gear wheel to the left of the red part of the base unit. Run your finger back and forth over the gear wheel. It should not move. If it moves freely, the gears have been stripped and it will need to be shipped away to be replaced/repaired. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Does the dispenser make any noise like it is trying to rotate?
In a properly working medication dispenser, you can hear a whirring sound as the gears inside move to rotate the medication tray. If there is not any whirring noise (this is different from the alarm buzzer), then the motor may need to be replaced. The dispenser will need to be shipped away to be replaced/repaired. The motor breaking is uncommon and all the above questions should be asked prior to assuming the motor is broken. Please also reference the question below (about the T bar not moving).
Why isn’t the white T bar moving from the "up" position to the "down" position when performing an alarm test?
Make sure the medication tray is in place when performing the alarm test. You will want to align the medication tray with the dispenser: make sure the wall of a (any) medication compartment in the tray is lined up with the small, vertical hash mark in the lip of the medication dispenser (near 6 o’clock if the medication dispenser were the face of a clock). Then press "alarm test" again. The tray should rotate and the white T bar should slide down.
If that does not work, next ask:
- Is the medication tray securely in the medication dispenser?
When the lid is locked into place on the medication dispenser, it applies slight pressure to the medication tray so that it is nestled into place. When performing an alarm test, the lid will not be on, so you may need to apply slight pressure to the inner rim of the medication tray on the left-hand side, where 9 o’clock would be if the medication dispenser were the face of a clock. While applying light pressure, perform an alarm test.
- Is the spring mechanism connected and intact?
To check this, take the cover off the medication dispenser. If you are looking at the inside as if it were the face of a clock, there should be a metal spring or coil at the base where 6 o’clock would be. If it is not there, is tangled, or is not securely attached, then it will need to be shipped away to be replaced/repaired.
- Is the T bar release arm working?
This is the small white tab at the base of the inside of the medication dispenser near the coil (at 6 o’clock if the inside of the dispenser were a clock). To test it, make sure the T bar is in the "up" position. Push the release arm to the left. The T bar should move into the down position. If the release arm easily moves back and forth and the T bar remains in the up position, the coil for the release arm is damaged and will need to be shipped away to be replaced/repaired.
If these solutions do not work, get in touch with our Customer Service team.
Why isn’t the compartment door opening and closing properly?
Check whether the compartment opens when the alarm goes off, by taking off the cover and pressing the Alarm Test button. The unit should beep/flash, the tray should rotate and the white “T” bar will need to be pushed up to the X to stop the beeping. Leave the T bar up and press the alarm test button again. The T bar should automatically move to the lower position again. When putting the lid back on the medication dispenser, always make sure the T bar is in the top position and that the compartment door on the lid is in the closed position.
How long does the medication dispenser battery last?
It has a 48-hour rechargeable backup battery. You should use the AC wall power supply whenever you can. The backup batteries should only be used during short-term traveling (less than 48 hours). When running on battery power, the clock will not display the time.
What do I do if I know I am going to miss a dose?
The "minute" button inside the unit can be used to advance a dose. Press and hold that button for 4 seconds to advance to the next dose. Up to 4 doses can be advanced within 24 hours.
How do I fill the tray properly?
Line up the tray so that there is an open slot below the white T bar. The next medication dispensing time is the first slot counterclockwise from that opening. For example, let’s say the current time is 8 am. You have 2 alarm times that you’ve set, one for 6 am and one for 12 pm. The 12 pm medication dispensing time will be filled in the first slot counterclockwise from the center opening, since 6 am has already passed for the day.
Why isn’t the time displayed on the medication dispenser?
If there are colons flashing, the medication dispenser is using the backup battery power, but not plugged into power.
Why does my time display read, “OFF”?
When the display shows the word “OFF” and nothing happens when any buttons are pressed or if the unit is unplugged and then plugged back in, the unit is in “Sleep Mode.” To take the unit out of sleep mode, press and hold down the “Hour” button until the “OFF” disappears from the display. The time and alarms should reappear, but double check to make sure they are correct and adjust as needed.
My medication dispenser uses both a buzzer and a flashing light. How can I deactivate one or both of these?
Note: The volume on the medication dispenser is not adjustable, but you can turn it off.
- Unlock and remove the blue lid.
- Press and hold down the Alarm 1 and Alarm 3 buttons at the same time.
- While these two buttons are held down, the tens and ones place on the current time on the display will indicate the alarm settings (tens place =flashing light; ones place = buzzer)
- A solid digit indicates an active setting; a flashing or blinking digit indicates a deactivated setting (ex: If it's 4:27 and the 2 is solid but the 7 is blinking, that means that the flashing light is active but the buzzer has been deactivated/turned off)
- Continue to hold down both Alarm 1 and Alarm 3 until the desired combination appears on the time display, then release the hold on the two buttons to set the settings:
- tens solid, ones solid (flashing light on, buzzer on)
- tens solid, ones blinking (flashing light on, buzzer off)
- tens blinking, ones solid (flashing light off, buzzer on)
- tens blinking, ones blinking (flashing light off, buzzer off)