Medication use in the context of everyday living as understood by seniors

Date

2012

Authors

Holroyd, Ann
Vegsund, Britt
Stephenson, Peter H.
Beuthin, Rosanne E.

Journal Title

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Volume Title

Publisher

International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being

Abstract

Recognizing that older adults are among the biggest consumers of medication, and the demographic group most likely to suffer an adverse drug reaction (ADR), this paper details the findings from a recent study on how older adults come to understand medication and its related use. Using a qualitative content analysis method, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 individuals from British Columbia, Canada. Study participants ranged in age from 65 to 89 years (male = 9, female = 11). Using NVIVO® 7 software, data were subjected to comparative thematic content analysis in an effort to capture the role of medication use in the context of everyday living as understood by older adults. While there was variability in how older adults come to understand their medication use, an overarching theme was revealed whereby most participants identified their prescription medications as being life-sustaining and prolonging. Deeper thematic content analysis of participant narratives drew attention to three key areas: (A) medications are viewed as a necessary, often unquestioned, aspect of day-to-day life (B) a relationship is perceived to exist between the amount of medications taken and ones current state of health (C) the overall medication experience is positively or negatively influenced by the doctor patient relationship and the assumption that it is the physicians role to communicate medication information that will support everyday living. The article concludes that medical authority and the complexities surrounding medication use need to undergo significant revision if community dwelling older adults are to experience greater success in safely managing their health and medication-related needs.

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Citation

Holroyd, A., Vegsund, B., Stephenson, P. H. & Beuthin, R. E. (2012). Medication use in the context of everyday living as understood by seniors. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.3402/qhw.v7i0.10451