Medication Knowledge Among Older Adults Admitted to Home Care in Ontario During 2012–2013

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Medication use among Canadian seniors is widespread and increases with the number of comorbidities. Limited evidence exists on medication knowledge among seniors, especially in home care.


The purpose of this retrospective cohort study was to describe medication knowledge and ability to take medication among seniors admitted to home care in Ontario.


Ten percent had little or no knowledge of what medication to take (n = 1,389/14,004) or an understanding of the purpose of their medications (n = 1,396/14,004). Increasing numbers of medications prescribed was associated with decreased knowledge of medications. The strongest predictor of limited knowledge and ability to take medication was dementia (odds ratio > 5.0).


Among Ontario seniors living at home, knowledge about medications decreases as the number of medications increases. Therefore, this group may be at high risk of medication errors.


Better systems are required to allow healthcare professionals to review with patients, any medications with patients and caregivers, to assist in addressing the decreased knowledge of medications. Such a system would provide the capacity to target those individuals at high risk for a medication error, as well as the medications and drug–drug interactions that seem most likely to be harmful among older adults.

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