Informal carers and elderly care-recipients: managing medicines

Smith, F.J., Francis, S-A. and Gray, N. (2000) Informal carers and elderly care-recipients: managing medicines. In: Health Service Research and Pharmacy Practice Conference, 2000, Aberdeen, Scotland.

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Introduction The Carers' National Association (CNA) has estimated that there are around 6.8 milllion informal carers in the UK who provide regular and significant support and care. Should this care be funded by the Government, they believed it would cost approximately $33 billion annually.(1) In a national survey among the CNA membership, 65% of carers reported that their own health suffered from their caring responsibilities and 78% cited that a lack of information on prescribed drugs was an important problem.(2) The aim of this study is to document the prevalence and nature of specific drug related problems experienced by informal carers. Methods This is a national study being conducted in 4 randomly selected health authority areas in England. Sampling procedures inlcuded stratification according to proportion of the population aged over 65 years, in ethnic minority groups and by UPA score (Jarman Index) as an indicator of socio-economic status. Teams of local interviewers are recruited to collect the data. Carers are identified by the interviewers in randomly selected community pharmacies using a screening questionnaire which is conducted with all people collecting prescription medicines. Data are collected in interviews with carers in their own homes using a structured interview schedule comprising open and closed questions (including established measures of health status and carer strain). Results Data collection in one study area is now complete. A team of five interviewers were recruited. Each interviewer was based in their own pharmacy and was responsible for recruiting 10 carers. The results presented will characterise and document the roles of these carers in the management of their care-recipients' medication and the impact of the caring role on the health status and the lives of carers. Our findings have shown wide differences among carers in their involvement in managing medicines. This ranges from ordering and collection of prescriptions to active involvement in clinical decisions. The results also reveal variation in carers' knowledge and understanding of medicines and the problems they experience. Carers perceived the management of medicines as a source of uncertainty and anxiety affecting their social, working and home lives. This presentation will also include a discussion of the study procedures including the recruitment and training of local interviewers and support thourghout the study period to ensuring adherence to study protocols and consistency in the quality of data collection.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:This paper was presented as a report to the Wellcome Trust in 2001
Departments, units and centres:Department of Practice and Policy > Department of Practice and Policy
ID Code:89
Deposited By:Library Staff
Deposited On:10 Aug 2006
Last Modified:19 Sep 2007 11:12

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