Background — 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.
Purpose — 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.
Results — 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).
Discussion — 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.
Conclusion — 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.