To improve elderly patients' understanding and safe usage of their medications.
English-speaking hospital inpatients aged ≥65 years were recruited. They were self-medicating at home with at least 1 regular medication and had a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score of at least 20 out of 30. The patients were taught medication details on 3 consecutive days. The patients' medication knowledge was recorded before education and again at a home visit after discharge from hospital.
Patient medication knowledge before education showed that participants knew 50% of brand names, dosage and times, 55% of medication purpose, and 15% of major side effects. At follow-up home visits, the relevant figures improved significantly to 90%, 85%, and 25%, respectively (P ≤ .05). Similar improvement occurred in the 2 patient groups with an MMSE score of 20 to 24 and 25 to 30 (P = .03).
This simple, practical, nursing-staff-conducted program worked well in a hospital setting and resulted in improved medication knowledge, even in patients with mild cognitive impairment.