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Improving adherence to multiple medications in older people in primary care: Selecting intervention components to address patient-reported barriers and facilitators

Deborah E Patton, Cathal A Cadogan, Cristín Ryan, Jill J Francis, Gerard J Gormley, Peter Passmore, Ngaire Kerse, Carmel M Hughes
Health Expectations: An International Journal of Public Participation in Health Care and Health Policy 2018, 21 (1): 138-148
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BACKGROUND: Medication adherence is vital to ensuring optimal patient outcomes, particularly amongst multimorbid older people prescribed multiple medications. Interventions targeting adherence often lack a theoretical underpinning and this may impact on effectiveness. The theoretical domains framework (TDF) of behaviour can aid intervention development by systematically identifying key determinants of medication adherence.

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to (i) identify determinants (barriers, facilitators) of adherence to multiple medications from older people's perspectives; (ii) identify key domains to target for behaviour change; and (iii) map key domains to intervention components [behaviour change techniques (BCTs)] that could be delivered in an intervention by community pharmacists.

METHOD: Focus groups were conducted with older people (>65 years) receiving ≥4 medications. Questions explored the 12 domains of the TDF (eg "Knowledge," "Emotion"). Data were analysed using the framework method and content analysis. Identification of key domains and mapping to intervention components (BCTs) followed established methods.

RESULTS: Seven focus groups were convened (50 participants). A wide range of determinants were identified as barriers (eg forgetfulness, prioritization of medications) and facilitators (eg social support, personalized routines) of adherence to multiple medications. Eight domains were identified as key targets for behaviour change (eg "Social influences," "Memory, attention and decision processes," "Motivation and goals") and mapped to 11 intervention components (BCTs) to include in an intervention [eg "Social support or encouragement (general)," "Self-monitoring of the behaviour," "Goal-setting (behaviour)"].

CONCLUSION: This study used a theoretical underpinning to identify potential intervention components (BCTs). Future work will incorporate the selected BCTs into an intervention that will undergo feasibility testing in community pharmacies.

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