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Post-discharge medicines management: the experiences, perceptions and roles of older people and their family carers

Background Multiple changes are made to older patients' medicines during hospital admission, which can sometimes cause confusion and anxiety. This results in problems with post-discharge medicines management, for example medicines taken incorrectly, which can lead to harm, hospital readmission and reduced quality of life. Aim To explore the experiences of older patients and their family carers as they enacted post-discharge medicines management. Design Semi-structured interviews took place in participants' homes, approximately two weeks after hospital discharge. Data analysis used the Framework method. Setting and participants Recruitment took place during admission to one of two large teaching hospitals in North England. Twenty-seven participants aged 75 plus who lived with long-term conditions and polypharmacy, and nine family carers, were interviewed. Findings Three core themes emerged: impact of the transition, safety strategies and medicines management role. Conversations between participants and health-care professionals about medicines changes often lacked detail, which disrupted some participants' knowledge and medicines management capabilities. Participants used multiple strategies to support post-discharge medicines management, such as creating administration checklists, seeking advice or supporting primary care through prompts to ensure medicines were supplied on time. The level to which they engaged with these activities varied. Discussion and conclusion Participants experienced gaps in their post-discharge medicines management, which they had to bridge through implementing their own strategies or by enlisting support from others. Areas for improvement were identified, mainly through better communication about medicines changes and wider involvement of patients and family carers in their medicines-related care during the hospital-to-home transition.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Type of Work
Journal article
John Wiley & Sons
Publication Year
Issue Number
Journal Titles
Health Expectations
Volume Number
Start Page
End Page