BACKGROUND: Little is known about the general medicines management issues for people with dementia living in the community. This review has three aims: firstly to explore and evaluate the international literature on how people with dementia manage medication; assess understanding of medicines management from an informal carers perspective; and lastly to understand the role that healthcare professionals play in assisting this population with medicines management.
METHODS: A mixed studies review was conducted. Web of Knowledge, PubMed and Cochrane Library were searched post-1999 for studies that explored medicines management in people with dementia dwelling in the community, and the role healthcare professionals play in supporting medicines management in people with dementia. Following screening, nine articles were included. Data from included studies were synthesised using a convergent synthesis approach and analysed thematically to combine findings from studies using a range of methods (qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods).
RESULTS: Four themes were generated from the synthesis: The nature of the disease and the effects this had on medicines management; the additional responsibilities informal carers have; informal caregivers' knowledge of the importance of managing medication and healthcare professionals' understanding of medicines management in people with dementia. Consequently, these were found to affect management of medication, in particular adherence to medication.
CONCLUSIONS: This review has identified that managing medication for people with dementia dwelling in the community is a complex task with a frequently associated burden on their informal caregivers. Healthcare professionals can be unaware of this burden. The findings warrant the need for healthcare professionals to undergo further training in supporting medicines management for people with dementia in their own homes.
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Funding: Pharmacy Research UK.
- Dementia, Medicines management, Community, Informal carers, Healthcare professionals