Patients’ Understanding and Management of their Illnesses and Prescribed Medicines – A Descriptive Study
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Objective: The objective of this study was to explore patients’ understanding and management of their illnesses and prescribed medicines.
Method: Patients receiving three or more repeat prescription drugs were interviewed in their homes after their repeat prescriptions had drug-related problem (DRP) identified by a community pharmacist in a GP surgery.
Results: In total, 58 patients were interviewed. Patients distinguished strongly between ‘forgetting’ and ‘taking less’ of their medicines, and some actively reduced the dose themselves. More than 25% of the patients involved their spouse in the administration of their medicines. Patients had more worries about their illness (48%) than their medicines (31%). Any changes made to their present medication, or introduction of new medicines, were thought to ‘upset the balance’.
Conclusion: More information is needed on patients’ perspectives, both on side effects, compliance and how to deal with long-term medication. Health care professionals should seek to understand and respect patients’ choices to assure optimal care.
Key wordsEngland General practice Patient compliance Patient health beliefs Patient information needs Repeat prescribing
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