Compliance

Compliance in the elderly in general is similar to that of the general population. If more than six drugs are prescribed long-term, or more than three doses/day are required, then compliance will suffer (Blackwell, 1979; Gately, 1968). These factors are more common in the elderly. Recommendations for improving compliance in older patients are similar to any other studies, except for one—that the physician should set priorities for which medications are critical to patients' health in a polypharmacy setting. The medication regimens should be as simple as possible; the caregiver and patient should be educated about the name, dose, and reason for all medications. Patients should be given simple instructions on cards, together with suggestions on how to remind them-selves—'tick-off cards on fridge', 'diary notes' on bathroom mirror for morning dose, or on pantry door 'with food', etc. Patients and their caregivers should be given educational pamphlets about their diseases. They should be encouraged to ask questions or report possible adverse events or strange feelings. Patients should be asked to repeat back instructions. Lastly, there are telephone call services which will call and remind patients to take the medicine, or help organize cabs or transport for follow-up visits, either to the laboratories for blood work, etc., or to the investigator appointments.

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