Purpose: The objectives of this investigation were to prospectively assess medication compliance rates in elderly patients with congestive heart failure, to identify factors associated with reduced compliance, and to evaluate the effect of a multidisciplinary treatment approach on medication adherence.
Patients and methods: A total of 156 patients > or = 70 years of age (mean, 79.4 +/- 6.0; 67% female, 65% nonwhite) hospitalized with congestive heart failure were evaluated prospectively. Prior to discharge, patients were randomized to the study intervention (n = 80) or conventional care (n = 76). The intervention consisted of comprehensive patient education, dietary and social service consultations, medication review, and intensive postdischarge follow-up. Detailed data were collected on all prescribed medications at the time of discharge, and compliance was assessed by pill counts 30 +/- 2 days later.
Results: The overall compliance rate during the first 30 days after discharge was 84.6 +/- 15.1% (range, 23.1-100%). Compliance was 87.9 +/- 12.0% in patients randomized to the study intervention, compared with 81.1 +/- 17.2% in the control group (P = 0.003). A compliance rate of > or = 80% was achieved by 85.0% of the treatment group versus 69.7% of the control group (P = 0.036). By multivariate analysis, assignment to the treatment group was the strongest independent predictor of compliance (P = 0.008). Other variables included in the model were Caucasian race (P = 0.044) and not living alone (P = 0.09).
Conclusions: A multidisciplinary treatment strategy is associated with improved medication compliance during the first 30 days following hospital discharge in elderly patients with congestive heart failure. Improved compliance may contribute to improved outcomes in these patients.