Self-administration of medicine and older people

Department of Primary Care and Population Science, Royal Free and University College Medical Schools, London.
Nursing standard: official newspaper of the Royal College of Nursing 01/2001; 15(18):33-6. DOI: 10.7748/ns2001.
Source: PubMed


BACKGROUND: Non-adherence to medication regimens is a significant problem in older patients, which can lead to therapeutic failure and the wastage of resources. Common causes include poor patient memory, physical difficulties, unpleasant side effects and a lack of social support. CONCLUSION: Strategies such as careful labelling, self-administration of medicine programmes, simplifying drug regimens and the use of medication compliance devices can help to promote patient adherence. Some of these interventions will work for certain patients, however the authors recommend that a multidisciplinary assessment and a regular review of each patient's ability to adhere to medication should be undertaken.

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    • "As space on medication labels is limited and instructions are generally vague, disjointed, and poorly organized, individuals must rely on making inferences regarding information not explicitly stated (Hayes, 1998; Kendrick & Bayne, 1982; McGraw & Drennan, 2001; Park, Willis, Morrow, Diehl, & Gaines, 1994; Willis et al., 1999). Several studies reveal that both cognitively intact and cognitively impaired individuals have difficulty making inferences from medical information, although those with cognitive impairment make significantly more errors (Hayes, 1998; McGraw & Drennan, 2001; Park et al., 1994; Zwahr, 1999). Kendrick and Bayne (1982), for example, found 29% of their cognitively intact elderly sample demonstrated a different understanding of medication administration than the written label. "
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    • "expensive medication regimens; however, additional issues such as social isolation; changes in vision, memory, and manual dexterity; and other physical limitations may increase the burden of therapy (McGraw & Drennan, 2001). "
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