The aim of this study was to describe how older people living at home in Stockholm, Sweden, experienced the management of their own medication regimen from their own perspective.
Very old people tend to use more medicines, and without proper medication, many of them would not function well and would not be able to remain in their own homes.
This qualitative study involved audiotaped interviews with 25 very old persons.
aged >or=85 years, mini-mental state examination >or=24, living at home, taking medicines regularly. Data collected May-June 2005, analysed using content analysis.
Findings revealed that most participants managed their medicines by themselves and were very content with this. Older people who received some help with their medicines were also very pleased with that help. The most important components for older people were to have good cognitive ability, to be independent and to get support with their medicines from a close person as a back up.
Our results indicate that most of the participants were very pleased with their medicine management, either on their own or they were able to get some help. There was, however, a need for assistance in delivering the medicines to their homes.
Understanding how older people experience their management of medicines and to reveal the components which may affect them in this situation is important to improve nursing care. To observe the life of an older person as a whole is important in nursing care, so that the person's behaviour can be understood, as how older people manage to handle their medicines may have an impact on their autonomy and on health-care resource use.