Objective: To identify problems with medication knowledge, self-estimated compliance, and recall of medication education in a group of elderly patients.
Setting: Medicine and geriatric clinics at a county hospital.
Patients: Patients greater than or equal to 60 years old and taking at least one prescription medication.
Main outcome measurements: Medication knowledge, self-estimated compliance, and recall of medication education.
Results: The percent of geriatric patients correctly stating 76-100 percent of their medication doses, uses, and frequencies was 30, 64, and 66 percent, respectively. Fifteen patients (34 percent) stated they never missed a medication dose and 27 (61 percent) remembered to take their medications by memory alone. Sixteen and 86 percent, respectively, of the patients from the medicine and geriatric clinics could not recall receiving verbal or written educational material. Only 27 percent of patients recalled having been told about possible adverse reactions. The most frequently cited providers of medication information were physicians.
Conclusions: Specially designed multidisciplinary medication education programs with repeated written and verbal reinforcement for elderly patients may improve patients' knowledge about their medications, recognition and management of adverse reactions, and compliance.