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Br J Community Nurs. 2000 Jul;5(7):326-31.

The use of medication compliance devices by district nursing services.

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  • 1Primary Care Nursing, Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, University College and Royal Free Medical Schools, London, UK.


This article presents a critical review of the literature relating to medication compliance devices and the findings of a survey that examined the use of such devices by district nursing services. The UKCC (1992) does not regard the loading of compliance devices by nurses as safe practice; however, compliance devices continue to be used by district nurses. The evidence base concerning the value and use of medication compliance devices is examined and significant gaps in the literature relating to the use of such devices are identified. There is an absence of studies that focus on the effect of compliance devices on adherence among older patients and the nature and frequency of drug administration errors involving these devices. The survey findings show that nurse-loaded compliance devices are used in over one-third of the sample. Further research is necessary to assess the clinical effectiveness of, and clinical risk attached to, compliance devices for older patients in the community. It is suggested that this is an issue of serious concern for primary care groups considering the principles of clinical governance.

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