Florida Public Health Review


Publication Date

December 2006


Medication therapy is an important component of the comprehensive treatment plan designed to maintain or improve health. If patients do not take prescribed medications correctly or are non-adherent, less successful therapy occurs. Reasons given for noncompliance include cost, misunderstanding the therapy, side effects, forgetfulness, or a belief that the medication is not effective or necessary. This study had two goals, the first was to evaluate medication use while simultaneously assessing knowledge, compliance, tolerance, and perceived efficacy. Drug-related problems, if any, were also identified. The second goal was to develop methods to improve patient outcomes based upon identified problems. For eight weeks, all patients attending four rural North Central Florida clinics were asked to participate in this study by completing a short questionnaire and personal interview. A significant inverse correlation (p<0.05) was found between participant age and knowledge about medications. Also, those with five or more prescriptions had decreased knowledge about their medications (p<0.05). Based upon these findings, researchers recommend that health professionals use specific communication techniques when teaching older persons for example, incorporation of open ended-questions in interactions will elicit more information than closed, thus enabling a clinician to better identify patient needs. In addition, devotion of more time and attention to instruction may improve learning outcomes, especially in the elderly.