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Medication adherence and beliefs about medication in elderly patients living alone with chronic diseases

Authors Park HY, Seo SA, Yoo H, Lee K

Received 8 September 2017

Accepted for publication 22 November 2017

Published 24 January 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 175—181


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Hwa Yeon Park,1,2,* Sin Ae Seo,2,* Hyeyoung Yoo,2 Kiheon Lee1–3

1Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Republic of Korea; 2Department of Community Health Research, Seongnam Center for Home Health Care, Seongnam, Republic of Korea; 3Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: The aim of this study was to assess medication adherence and its related factors among elderly people living alone with chronic diseases using a conceptual framework with the Belief about Medicines Questionnaire and the Adherence to Refills and Medication Scale-Korean version.
Participants and methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted in 3,326 elderly people living alone, who were enrolled in Seongnam Center for Home Health Care in South Korea. They completed validated questionnaires assessing their adherence and beliefs about medication in general.
Results: In attitudinal analysis using Belief about Medicines Questionnaire, 37.0% of patients were accepting of medication (high necessity with low concerns), 49.7% were ambivalent (high necessity with high concerns), 1.9% were skeptical (low necessity with high concerns), and 11.4% were indifferent (low necessity and low concerns). In multivariable analysis, we found that adherence was related to patients’ beliefs about medication; compared with patients who were accepting of medication, those in the other three attitudinal groups had significantly lower adherence (indifferent, p=0.003; skeptical, p=0.001; ambivalent, p<0.001). Also, low adherence was associated with heavy burden of drug costs (β=0.109; 95% CI 0.03, 0.19), presence of drug side effects (β=0.431; 95% CI 0.11, 0.75), dissatisfaction with medication (β=−0.626; 95% CI −0.77, −0.48), perceiving health status as poor (β=−0.151; 95% CI −0.27, −0.03), and receiving medical aid (β=0.655; 95% CI 0.42, 0.89). Gender, age group, and number of prescribed medication were not associated with medication adherence.
Conclusion: To improve medication adherence of elderly living alone, it is essential to identify barriers to adherence, including their concerns and attitudes toward medications. These factors associated with adherence should be considered in further intervention studies.

Keywords: medication adherence, the elderly living alone, beliefs about medication, chronic diseases

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