Attitudes towards deprescribing: The perspectives of geriatric patients and nursing home residents

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2021 Jun;69(6):1508-1518. doi: 10.1111/jgs.17054. Epub 2021 Feb 17.


Background/objectives: Successful deprescribing requires insight into patients' thoughts about deprescribing. We described attitudes towards deprescribing in a large sample of geriatric patients and nursing home residents.

Design: Interview-based questionnaire study.

Setting: Denmark.

Participants: Geriatric inpatients (n = 44), geriatric outpatients (n = 94), and nursing home residents (n = 162) with an Orientation-Memory-Concentration score of ≥8.

Measurements: Participants completed the validated Danish version of the revised Patients' Attitudes Towards Deprescribing (rPATD) questionnaire by interview. Attitudes were reported descriptively, and rPATD factor scores were compared between participant groups and across participant characteristics.

Results: Participants had a median age of 82 years (interquartile range [IQR] 76-89) and used a median of 8 medications (IQR 5-10). Thirty-three percent of participants would like to try stopping one of their medications on their own, while 87% were willing to stop one on their physician's advice. Geriatric inpatients reported slightly greater perceived burden of taking medication compared to geriatric outpatients and nursing home residents (median "burden" score 50 vs 42, p = 0.11), while geriatric outpatients reported slightly more involvement in their medication use compared to nursing home residents (median "involvement" score 80 vs 75, p < 0.05) and geriatric inpatients (median "involvement" score 80 vs 70, p < 0.01). An increasing number of medications was associated with an increased "burden" score (ptrend = 0.001): Those using 1-4 medications daily had a median score of 25 (IQR 17-33) compared to 58 (IQR 42-75) among those using ≥10 medications daily. Similarly, an increasing number of medications was associated with a higher "concerns about stopping" score (ptrend = 0.001) and a lower "appropriateness" score (ptrend < 0.001), respectively.

Conclusion: Geriatric patients and nursing home residents are generally open towards deprescribing, particularly if proposed by their physician. Some differences exist between populations and across individual patient characteristics. Clinicians should increase awareness of deprescribing as a possibility in these populations and tailor their deprescribing approach to the individual patient.

Keywords: attitudes; deprescribing; geriatric patients; nursing home residents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude*
  • Denmark
  • Deprescriptions*
  • Female
  • Geriatrics
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / statistics & numerical data*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Outpatients / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physicians
  • Surveys and Questionnaires