Study finds elderly patients know too little about their medications

May 30, 2002

Only 15 percent of the elderly emergency department patients (over age 65), interviewed in an urban hospital, could correctly list all their medications, dosages, frequencies, and indications, according to a study in the June 2002 Annals of Emergency Medicine. (Knowledge of Prescription Medications Among Elderly Emergency Department Patients)

"Our study reflects poor communication between health care providers and elderly patients, the complexity of modern medication regimens, and the passive role the elderly are taking in their health care," said Joel M. Bartfield, MD, of Albany Medical College in New York and co-author of the study. "Considering a large number of elderly people go to emergency departments with adverse drug reactions, and they are fastest growing age group, this could become a major public health problem."

Of the 77 patients interviewed for the study, each were taking an average of just less than six prescription medications. The study found the more medications elderly patients were taking, the more likely they would have trouble identify them, their dosages, frequencies, and indications.

When researchers verified the actual number of medications patients were prescribed (458 total) with the total number patients had listed (359 total), they found that each patient omitted on average a little more than one medication. While patients listed 359 medications, they only correctly identified 236 drugs (65.5 percent), and only 32.5 percent of patients correctly identified their dosages.

Researchers said if their study had not excluded elderly patients, who did not know their pharmacy, were disoriented or medically unstable, they may have found this problem to be much more pervasive.

Annals of Emergency Medicine is the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians, a national medical organization with nearly 23,000 members. ACEP is committed to improving the quality of emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, and a Government Services Chapter representing emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.
-end-


American College of Emergency Physicians

Related Health Care Articles from Brightsurf:

Study evaluates new World Health Organization Labor Care Guide for maternity care providers
The World Health Organization developed the new Labor Care Guide to support clinicians in providing good quality, women-centered care during labor and childbirth.

Six ways primary care "medical homes" are lowering health care spending
New analysis of 394 U.S. primary care practices identifies the aspects of care delivery that are associated with lower health care spending and lower utilization of emergency care and hospital admissions.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

Spending on primary care vs. other US health care expenditures
National health care survey data were used to assess the amount of money spent on primary care relative to other areas of health care spending in the US from 2002 to 2016.

MU Health Care neurologist publishes guidance related to COVID-19 and stroke care
A University of Missouri Health Care neurologist has published more than 40 new recommendations for evaluating and treating stroke patients based on international research examining the link between stroke and novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Large federal program aimed at providing better health care underfunds primary care
Despite a mandate to help patients make better-informed health care decisions, a ten-year research program established under the Affordable Care Act has funded a relatively small number of studies that examine primary care, the setting where the majority of patients in the US receive treatment.

International medical graduates care for Medicare patients with greater health care needs
A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital research team indicates that internal medicine physicians who are graduates of medical schools outside the US care for Medicare patients with more complex medical needs than those cared for by graduates of American medical schools.

The Lancet Global Health: Improved access to care not sufficient to improve health, as epidemic of poor quality care revealed
Of the 8.6 million deaths from conditions treatable by health care, poor-quality care is responsible for an estimated 5 million deaths per year -- more than deaths due to insufficient access to care (3.6 million) .

Under Affordable Care Act, Americans have had more preventive care for heart health
By reducing out-of-pocket costs for preventive treatment, the Affordable Care Act appears to have encouraged more people to have health screenings related to their cardiovascular health.

High-deductible health care plans curb both cost and usage, including preventive care
A team of researchers based at IUPUI has conducted the first systematic review of studies examining the relationship between high-deductible health care plans and the use of health care services.

Read More: Health Care News and Health Care Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.