Perspectives of Medication Management Practices of Diverse, Low Income, Older Adults

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Brian J Quilliam


Purpose:To explore the perspectives of medication management practices among a racially/ethnically diverse sample of low-income older adults.  Methods: This qualitative study included 11 focus groups with 105 low income older adult participants.  We recruited a stratified purposeful sample of older adults from community settings over a 5 month period (11/2007-3/2008).  Focus group discussions centered on participants’ perceptions about their medications, medication-taking habits, and adherence. The discussions were audio recorded and professionally transcribed.  Our interdisciplinary project team engaged in an iterative immersion crystallization group data analysis process.Results:  Participants made varying yet concerted decisions about taking their medications differently than prescribed, they usually did not disclose these modifications to their physicians, and they did not recognize the potential dangers to their health that can ensue.  The burden of taking so many medications influenced decisions to stop taking medications or to skip doses. Remembering to take evening doses was more problematic than morning doses.Conclusions: Use of multiple prescription medications and non-adherence to prescription instructions were common among diverse, low-income older adults. Taking medications “regularly” does not necessarily translate into taking medications as prescribed. Few participants stated that they reported their medication non-adherence to their physician.

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Author Biography

Brian J Quilliam, University of Rhode Island, College of Pharmacy

Department of Pharmacy PracticeAssociate ProfessorInterim Associate Dean for Student and Academic Affairs



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