Aug 1, 1977

The difficulties of old people taking drugs

Age and Ageing
L AtkinsonJ Andrews


There is considerable interest in the problems of the elderly taking drugs correctly and appropriately. A recent survey (Parkin et al. 1976) showed that these problems that have long been known in geriatric practice have now been noted by general physicians. This review was undertaken when an occupational therapist in a geriatric unit team noted that, although patients and their relatives were taught methods of dressing, toileting, shaving, bathing, eating, walking, transferring to a chair, wheelchair mobility and communication by the occupational therapist, physiotherapist and speech therapist, no advice or teaching was given concerning the accurate taking of the drugs prescribed. The results of a detailed investigation are reported elsewhere (Atkinson, Gibson & Andrews 1978). Repeatedly, patients ready for discharge were handed a batch of drugs by a nurse at the last possible moment, even while sitting by their luggage awaiting the ambulance. Following this, special attention was paid to problems such as intellectual impairment, loss of memory and confusion, poor sight, inability to handle containers, failure to take drugs and lack of patient-education. During ward rounds, particularly when a geriatric health visitor was pres...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Patient Non-Compliance
Memory Loss
Mental Health Wellness 1
Memory Disorders
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Drug Packaging
Age Factors
Drug Toxicity
Specimen Collection Method - Shaving

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