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Medication knowledge among older adults admitted to home care in Ontario during 2012-2013


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.



Sears K, Woo KY, Almost J, Wilson R, Frymire E, Whitehead M, VanDenKerkhof E. J Healthc Qual. 2018; 40(3):e33-45. Epub 2016 Aug 30.