Resources for Medication Management in the Aged – What do Health Professionals Want?

Paulina Stehlik, Pēteris Dārziņš, Jennifer L Marriott


Objectives: Many medication management resources aim to improve the quality of prescribing for older people, but simple resources naively do not address potential interactions when there are many diseases and many medications, while complex ones seem impractical to use during consultations. Limited work has explored health professional preferences regarding prescribing resources for aged and/or multi-morbid patients. Therefore the aim of this study was to define the characteristics of an “ideal” medication management resource when caring for complex aged patients.

Methods: Purposive convenience sampling was used to recruit geriatricians, GPs and accredited pharmacists for one hour, individual, semi-structured interviews though August 2011 to April 2012. Recruitment continued until data saturation. Nine geriatricians from Eastern Health, one GP and five accredited pharmacists from the Melbourne metropolitan area were interviewed. Thematic analysis was conducted using NVivo9 software.

Results: Study participants reported current resources do not assist with complex patient prescribing and lack relevance to the Australian setting.  Difficulty in timely access to appropriate information and with contextualising vast amounts of new health information were identified hurdles in healthcare delivery, as were incomplete health care records. Key components which make resources useful include clear formatting, simplicity, use of peer-reviewed evidence-based recommendations, and ready electronic access via an easy to use interface.

Conclusion: Current resources do not meet health professionals’ needs when they seek practical assistance when prescribing to older people with multiple medical problems. Future resources need to address identified hurdles to providing optimal care and incorporate desired features.


Decision Support; Resource; Information; Health Professional; eHealth; Aged Care

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