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Nursing Home Residents’ Thoughts on Discussing Deprescribing of Preventive Medications

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Deprescribing of preventive medications may be considered in some nursing home residents. It is important to understand how to effectively communicate around this complex decision, from both a physician and resident perspective.


The objective of this study was to explore how nursing home residents would like to discuss deprescribing of preventive medications with their physicians.


We conducted a qualitative study with face-to-face, semi-structured interviews. Participants were Danish nursing home residents aged ≥70 years deemed cognitively able to participate by nursing staff. They were taking one or more of statins, antihypertensives, antihyperglycemics, or antiplatelets. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Analysis was conducted based on systematic text condensation.


Nine nursing home residents (median age 85 years, seven female) were interviewed. Participants were generally aware of their overall number of medications but unaware of specific medications and why they were taking them. All participants displayed a high degree of trust in their physicians, preferring to defer decisions to them, and generally believed their medication was necessary if their physician had prescribed it. Residents would be open to deprescribing if their physician suggested it but were not aware of the possibility to be involved in the decision (e.g., discuss goals of care and treatment preferences) and had difficulty imagining what they could discuss with their physician about a deprescribing decision.


The interviewed nursing home residents could not imagine how they might discuss potential deprescribing of preventive medications with their physician, and what topics would be important. Future work should explore how nursing home residents can be encouraged to be part of such discussions and investigate ways to have residents share their goals and preferences regarding deprescribing.

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The authors would like to acknowledge Anton Pottegård and Line Bjørnskov Pedersen for their contribution to conception and design of the study, and Jette Videbæk Le for comments on the manuscript draft.

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Authors and Affiliations



WT, ITJ, CL, DJ, PH, and JBN conceived and designed the study. ITJ, WT, and CL acquired data. ITJ, WT, and CL analyzed and interpreted data. WT, ITJ, CL, DJ, PH, and JBN drafted and critically revised the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Wade Thompson.

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Conflict of interest

Wade Thompson, Ida Theemann Jacobsen, Dorte Ejg Jarbøl, Peter Haastrup, Jesper Bo Nielsen, and Carina Lundby declare they have no conflicts of interest.


This research did not receive any funding from agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Thompson, W., Jacobsen, I.T., Jarbøl, D.E. et al. Nursing Home Residents’ Thoughts on Discussing Deprescribing of Preventive Medications. Drugs Aging 37, 187–192 (2020).

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