A Self-Administration of Medications Program to Identify and Address Potential Barriers to Adherence in Elderly Patients

Ann Pharmacother. 2011 Feb;45(2):201-6. doi: 10.1345/aph.1P473.


Background: Inpatient self-administration of medications programs (SAMPs) improve the medication knowledge and adherence of elderly patients after their discharge from the hospital. They may also identify patients who will have difficulties managing their medications after discharge; however, no previous study has evaluated the value of a SAMP for detecting and addressing barriers to adherence.

Objective: To evaluate the usefulness of a SAMP for detecting and addressing barriers to adherence in functionally impaired elderly hospital inpatients, and to identify predictors of patient performance in a SAMP.

Methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted on 2 subacute aged-care wards. Patients who were intending to independently manage their medications after discharge were recruited. Medications were dispensed and labeled with full directions, and the patients were educated about their medications. Each patient was required to request the medications from nursing staff when due, then select and administer them under supervision. Patient performance was documented. Barriers to adherence and interventions used to address these barriers were recorded. Analyses were performed to identify factors associated with failing the SAMP.

Results: Of 62 patients who were recruited, 43 (69.4%) passed the program without requiring interventions to address adherence barriers, 7 (11.3%) passed with an intervention implemented to enable them to remain independent with medication management after discharge, and 12 (19.4%) failed and required full assistance with medication management after discharge. Overall, barriers to medication adherence (eg, inability to open containers, inability to request medications without prompting) were identified for 30.6% of patients. Mini-Mental State Examination scores and patient age were independent predictors of whether a patient would fail the SAMP.

Conclusions: An inpatient SAMP effectively detected barriers to medication adherence that otherwise may not have been detected and addressed prior to a patient's discharge from the hospital.

Keywords: adherence; inpatients; medication errors; self administration.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Patient Discharge
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Administration


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations