Pharmacy World and Science

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 237–241 | Cite as

Questions elderly patients have about on-going therapy: A pilot study to assist in communication with physicians

  • Carole Kimberlin
  • Michelle Assa
  • Daniel Rubin
  • Peggyann Zaenger


Purpose of the study: This pilot study examined the prevalence and types of questions elderly patients have about their current drug therapy. It also evaluated the effectiveness of a brief intervention to prepare patients to ask questions about drug therapy during medical visits.Design and methods: The research used a posttest‐only experimental design. Forty‐five elderly patients seen at a primary care clinic during a one‐month period consented to participate and completed the study. After consent, subjects were randomly assigned to intervention and control conditions. A brief interview with intervention group subjects conducted by a medical student assigned to the clinic as part of a summer research experience helped subjects formulate questions they had about current therapy before they went into medical visits. Patient‐physician visits were audiotaped and patient questions about medications and health care were tallied.Results: Subjects in the intervention group were significantly more likely to ask questions of providers than were subjects in the control group. Intervention group subjects were found to ask a wider variety of medication‐related questions than were control group subjects, including questions related to proper use, problems perceived with medications, and effectiveness of treatment.Implications: Assisting patients to formulate questions before medical visits results in an increased likelihood that patients will ask questions and will ask a wider variety of questions during the medical visit.

Cronic conditions Elderly patient care Patient communication Patient question-asking 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carole Kimberlin
    • 1
  • Michelle Assa
    • 2
  • Daniel Rubin
    • 3
  • Peggyann Zaenger
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy Health Care AdministrationUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.College of PharmacyNova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA
  3. 3.College of MedicineUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  4. 4.St. Vincent's Medical CenterJacksonvilleUSA

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