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J Gerontol Nurs. 2012 Jun;38(6):24-34; quiz 36-7. doi: 10.3928/00989134-20120509-01. Epub 2012 May 18.

Improving medication management among at-risk older adults.

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Department of Nursing and Allied Health, Our Lady of Holy Cross College, New Orleans, LA, USA.


Low health literacy is common among Medicare recipients and affects their understanding of complex medication regimens. Interventions are needed to improve medication use among older adults, while addressing low health literacy. Community-dwelling older adults in this study were enrolled at an inner-city adult day center. They completed a baseline measure of health literacy, medication self-efficacy, and medication adherence. They were provided with a personalized, illustrated daily medication schedule (PictureRxâ„¢). Six weeks later, their medication self-efficacy and adherence were assessed. Among the 20 participants in this pilot project, 70% had high likelihood of limited health literacy and took an average of 13.20 prescription medications. Both self-efficacy and medication adherence increased significantly after provision of the PictureRx cards (p < 0.001 and p < 0.05, respectively). All participants rated the PictureRx cards as very helpful in terms of helping them remember the medication's purpose and dosing. Illustrated daily medication schedules improve medication self-efficacy and adherence among at-risk, community-dwelling older adults.

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