Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Join

Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Medicines management

Carers of dementia patients reveal burden of managing medicines

Family carers of people with dementia have difficulty managing their medication and lack the knowledge to weigh up risks and benefits of different drugs, finds research.

Carers of people with dementia have difficulties managing their medication

Source: Sandor Kacso / Dreamstime.com

Managing medication in dementia is neither trivial nor emotionally neutral for carers and patients

Family carers of people with dementia have difficulty managing their medication and lack the knowledge to weigh up the risks and benefits of different drugs, according to research published in BMC Research Notes on 28 July 2014[1].

The carers feel overburdened with the responsibility of administering medicines and think health professionals fail to understand the problems around managing medicines when caring for someone with dementia, the study led by pharmacy academics at Aston University reveals.

“I was surprised by the results,” says Ian Maidment, lead researcher for the study and senior lecturer in clinical pharmacy at Aston, “I think it is [an issue that is] hidden from healthcare professionals such as pharmacists and GPs. People need to be made aware of the problem and we need to do more research.”  

The findings are based on data gathered as part of a workshop, which included carers and ex-carers of people with dementia from the Alzheimer’s Society Research Network, a community pharmacist, a mental health pharmacist, a GP, the head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society and a patient/public involvement officer, whose role is to engage with patients and involve them in research.

The carers reported “a sense of despair” when explaining the problems they faced administering medicines to health and social care professionals who failed to offer them any support, the research reveals.

Practical problems were often associated with drugs not linked to dementia. For example, the laxative Fybogel can set too quickly in a glass to be taken by a person with dementia.

Carers said they found compliance aids designed to support medicines use helpful, but there was a “general lack of awareness” about the additional support and advice they could receive from their community pharmacist, the study shows.

“The focus group discussion made clear that managing medication in dementia is neither trivial nor emotionally neutral for carers and patients,” the researchers say. “The discussions highlighted the need to understand why healthcare professionals might not spend time listening to patients and carers so as to address their medication-related difficulties and concerns.”  

“What this research really highlights is the importance of involving people affected by dementia in order to ensure that studies focus on areas which are most relevant to them,” says Clare Walton, research communications manager at the Alzheimer’s Society.

On the back of the study, Maidment is planning new research into whether community pharmacists have a particular role in assisting carers and dementia patients with medicines management and the best ways of providing that support.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20066024

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • BNF and BNF for Children

    BNF and BNF for Children

    Now available as a 1 year print subscription to both the BNF and BNFC, ensuring you have the latest medicines information as it publishes and at a greatly reduced price.

    £138.50Buy now
  • BNF and BNF for Children

    BNF and BNF for Children

    Now available as a 2 year print subscription to both the BNF and BNFC, ensuring you have the latest medicines information as it publishes and at a greatly reduced price.

    £262.50Buy now
  • BNF for Children (BNFC) 2018-2019

    BNF for Children (BNFC) 2018-2019

    The BNFC contains essential practical information for all healthcare professionals involved in prescribing, dispensing, monitoring and administration of medicines to children.

    £57.50Buy now
  • Good Pharmacovigilance Practice Guide

    Good Pharmacovigilance Practice Guide

    An essential guide on pharmacovigilance of medicinal products for human use. Practical advice for developing effective pharmacovigilance systems.

    £38.00Buy now
  • British National Formulary (BNF) 77

    British National Formulary (BNF) 77

    BNF 77 (March 2019) is your essential reference book for prescribing, dispensing, and administering medicines.

    £59.95Buy now

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Carers of people with dementia have difficulties managing their medication

Jobs you might like

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.