Older people's experiences of medicine changes on leaving hospital

Res Social Adm Pharm. 2014 Sep-Oct;10(5):791-800. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2013.10.005. Epub 2013 Oct 26.


Background: Few qualitative studies have explored older patients' perspectives on medicine changes that resulted from a stay in hospital.

Objective: To explore how older people aged ≥75 years, who had recently been discharged from hospital to their own home, understood and managed any changes to their medicines.

Methods: Forty people aged ≥75 years were recruited from two internal medicine wards. Participants were included if they took four or more prescription medicines at admission, experienced a medicine change and were discharged to their own home. Participants were interviewed in person at home. Interviews were semi-structured and were recorded, transcribed verbatim, coded using NVivo, and analyzed thematically.

Results: Participants experienced a median of four medicine changes per person and sixteen participants were unaware of the exact changes and the reasons for them. Some participants had concerns about their medicine changes. Twenty-nine participants could not recall anyone talking about their medicine changes just prior to them being discharged. The majority of participants trusted the decisions the hospital doctors made regarding their medicines and many participants spoke as if it was not their place to question doctors about their medicines.

Conclusion: Clear and understandable explanations of medicine changes are needed for older people on discharge from hospital. Health professionals should also be aware that older patients might not think it is acceptable for them to ask direct questions of staff members.

Keywords: Hospital discharge; Medicine changes; Older people; Qualitative interviews.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Professional-Patient Relations