Medication Literacy and Somali Older Adults Receiving Home Care

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Abstract

Medication literacy is the ability of individuals to access and understand medication information and then use that information to act and take their medication in a safe and appropriate way. The purpose of this study was to explore medication literacy in a group of Somali older adults and their families using qualitative secondary analysis. We conducted an analytic expansion of an existing qualitative study that explored the home healthcare perceptions of Somali older adults and their families. Qualitative data collected from 14 Somali families about home healthcare were reviewed and analyzed for material related to medication literacy. Data analysis revealed a number of important findings related to medication literacy and resulted in the discovery of four themes: Medication literacy is needed among Somali older adults and their families, Using home healthcare (HHC) to improve medication literacy, Better communication is essential to improving medication literacy, and Medication literacy is an intersecting family and social issue. The results of this study indicate that HHC has a role to play in improving the health and medication literacy of these families. They also highlight the need to further explore what techniques, tools, and/or supports HHC professionals need to care for non-English speaking populations. Future research needs to address how to meet the needs of diverse and vulnerable patients like Somali older adults, and how best to prepare HHC providers to do this.

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