Background: Older migrants with cognitive impairment exposed to polypharmacy constitute a vulnerable group of patients. To our knowledge, evidence on medication safety among this patient group with multiple risk factors is lacking.
Objectives: To explore the perspectives of health care professionals on medication safety among older migrants with cognitive impairment taking five or more medications daily.
Methods: A total of 34 health care professionals (general practitioners and hospital-, community pharmacy-, and home care staff) participated in the study, comprising nine focus groups and one semi-structured interview, and shared their perspectives on medication safety among older migrants with cognitive impairment exposed to polypharmacy. The analysis was inspired by Revsbæk and Tanggaard's "Analyzing in the Present" and was followed by systematic text condensation.
Results: Three main themes emerged: (i) the importance of relationships in medication safety, (ii) culture and finances as risk factors, and (iii) the health care system as a risk factor. Subthemes and codes were related within and across main themes and revealed a high level of complexity within the barriers to medication safety. Some of these barriers were closely related to characteristics of this specific patient group, while others were more general barriers that also affected other patient groups. Participants found that these more general problems were complicated further by language barriers and cognitive impairment when working with this patient group.
Conclusion: Health care professionals across various sectors and professions experienced several barriers that threatened medication safety among older migrants with cognitive impairment exposed to polypharmacy. Closer collaboration between health care professionals, patients, and relatives is required to improve medication safety.
Keywords: Cognitive impairment; Language barriers; Medication safety; Polypharmacy.
© 2022 The Authors.