Older adults' experiences of participating in a study circle about aging and drugs

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Abstract

Background:

Primary care physicians have a responsibility to inform older adults about the drugs and drug treatments they are prescribed so as to increase patients' compliance. However, this need is not always met. Use of a ‘study circle’ exercise may help older adults to obtain and increase their knowledge in a community setting, having the opportunity to share experiences with others in similar situations. The aim of this study was to describe older adults' experiences of taking part in a study circle about aging and drugs.

Methods:

The study was designed to be descriptive with an inductive approach. Eleven older adults took part in focus group interviews in 2014, and the content of these interviews was analysed.

Results:

Participants felt the design of the study circle exercise was good; having a syllabus to follow but at the same time allowing individuals' problems to be discussed. They described the leader of the study circle to be competent, with characteristics they appreciated. Participants found the study circle material informative, and it could be used as a reference for reflection. Participants' knowledge of natural and pathological aging was increased, as was their knowledge of drugs and their formulations. Participants felt more confident; they dared to ask questions, challenged new drugs, and proactively took action by seeking care when needed. The study circle format was recommended to other older adults. Participants suggested that in future the study circle could be extended and repeated, and that they could be provided with supplementary educational materials or exercises.

Conclusions:

Use of a study circle about aging and drugs increased older adults' knowledge, and empowered them to ask questions and take an active part in their drug treatment. We believe that older adults have a desire to want to know more about the drugs they are prescribed, and want to be involved with their treatment, not simply passive recipients.

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