Elder and caregiver solutions to improve medication adherence

Health Educ Res. 2015 Apr;30(2):323-35. doi: 10.1093/her/cyv009. Epub 2015 Feb 27.


Medication mismanagement is a growing public health concern, especially among elders. Annually, it is a major contributor to emergency hospitalization and nursing home placement. Elders and their caregivers, as healthcare consumers and stakeholders in this issue, are uniquely qualified to inform strategies to improve medication adherence. We conducted a qualitative study to ascertain caregiver and elder perceptions of barriers to medication management and to identify community-derived solutions to improve medication management. Nine focus groups (N = 65, mean age = 71) were conducted with caregivers or elders from five communities. Participants were recruited by key informants utilizing snowball sampling methodology. The following themes were identified in the participant-recommended proposed solutions improving medication adherence: (i) use of personal systems to overcome barriers to medication adherence, (ii) various solutions to address cost concerns, (iii) the need for regular review of medications by doctors or pharmacists to eliminate unnecessary medications, (iv) desire for community-driven support systems, and (v) using medical advocates. Elders and caregivers recognized medication non-adherence as a community-wide issue and were eager to offer solutions they thought would work in their communities. These solutions can lend credibility to strategies currently being developed/utilized and offer innovative recommendations for future interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Fees, Pharmaceutical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Polypharmacy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Reminder Systems