Functional medication management in older adults living in the community

  • Author / Creator
  • Many older adults experience difficulties in managing their medications, especially those with reduced functional abilities. Multi-morbidity adds another level of complexity to managing medications successfully. The overall aim of this thesis was to identify functional challenges with medication self-management. In the first study, the objective was to describe different challenges that older adults experience when managing medications at home, such as opening medication packages, breaking tablets, and swallowing pills. In the second study, the objective was to describe the tools available to assess functional medication management and examine the different domains assessed by those tools. The objective of the third study was to explore the most common types of functional challenges experienced by patients with rheumatic conditions.
    Two different research methods were used for this thesis. A scoping review of the literature was conducted for the first and second studies, while a cross-sectional survey was conducted for the third study. The scoping review involved screening 4,387 articles in order to identify relevant studies. The survey included detailed questions about the types of functional challenges with medication management experienced by patients with rheumatic conditions.
    In this first study, we found that a large number of older people living in the community have difficulties managing medications at home. This was evident in the finding that older adults experienced difficulties with all different dosage forms, including oral, ophthalmic, inhaled and injectable medications. In the second study, fourteen unique tools assessing functional medication management were described. Then, four key domains of medication management were proposed. One domain in particular, function, was not extensively assessed by the existing tools. In the third study, the results showed that 73% of participants with rheumatic conditions experienced at least one functional difficulty managing medications at home.
    The main finding of this thesis is that patients with functional impairments, due to older age or rheumatic conditions, experienced functional challenges when managing different medication forms. Furthermore, this thesis revealed that current assessment tools are not robust, as they lack comprehensive functional assessments. Adding a functional assessment to the existing tools or developing a new tool can help identify people with impaired functional ability to manage medications.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2019
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
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