We investigated the prevalence and quality of medication schedules of elderly ambulatory patients and assessed factors associated with the availability of a medication schedule. In particular, we evaluated whether sending out a blank medication schedule template would increase the chances to use such a document.
Data originate from the ESTHER study, a cohort study conducted in Saarland, Germany, in which trained study physicians performed home visits. They scanned all medication schedules, recorded the participants' medication, and performed thorough geriatric assessments. As part of the intervention, a blank medication schedule template along with a brochure was mailed to half of the participants (intervention group) 4 weeks prior to the home visits.
In total, 553 of 2470 participants (22.4 %) had a medication schedule. Almost two thirds of the schedules were issued by health care professionals (n = 353, 63.8 %). These schedules offered a higher quality, although important information such as over-the-counter (OTC) medication was regularly missing. Self-reported adherence was higher in participants who used self-issued medication schedules; however, self-reported medication adherence in patients with any medication schedule was poorer compared to those patients not using a schedule. Factors associated with the availability of a medication schedule were male sex, a higher number of medicines to take, and a more complex drug regimen. The intervention did not increase the number of patients having a medication schedule.
Only a minority of elderly ambulatory patients had a medication schedule at home. Sending out a brochure along with a blank medication schedule template did not increase the prevalence of medication schedules.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published