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The quality of medication use in older adults: methods of a longitudinal study.

Roth MT, Moore CG, Ivey JL, Esserman DA, Campbell WH, Weinberger M. The quality of medication use in older adults: methods of a longitudinal study. The American journal of geriatric pharmacotherapy. 2008 Oct 1; 6(4):220-33.

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BACKGROUND: The quality of medication use in older adults is a recurring problem of substantial concern. Efforts to both measure and improve the quality of medication use often define quality too narrowly and fall short of addressing the complexity of an older adult's medication regimen. OBJECTIVES: In an effort to more comprehensively define the quality of medication use in older adults, we conducted a prospective cohort study to: (1) describe the quality of medication use in community-dwelling older adults at baseline, examining differences between whites and blacks; (2) examine the effect of race on medication-related problems; and (3) assess the change in quality medication use between whites and blacks over time. This paper presents the research design and methods of this longitudinal study. METHODS: We interviewed white and black community-dwelling older adults (aged > or = 60 years) 3 times over 1 year (baseline, 6, and 12 months). We oversampled blacks so that we could estimate racial differences in the quality of medication use. We collected information on the quality of medication use, relying on a clinical pharmacist's assessment of quality and the Assessing Care of Vulnerable Elders quality indicators. We also collected data on demographic characteristics, health literacy, functional status, and participant-reported drug therapy concerns. RESULTS: Four hundred thirty-five older adults were assessed for inclusion; 200 older adults (100 white, 100 black) were enrolled in the study and completed a baseline visit. Of the 200, 92% completed the 6-month visit (n = 183) and 88% completed the 12-month visit (n = 176). We present baseline demographic characteristics for the 200 older adults enrolled in the study. CONCLUSION: This longitudinal study is an initial step toward developing more comprehensive, patient-centered measures and interventions to address the quality of medication use in older adults.

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