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Health Soc Care Community. 2017 May;25(3):888-900. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12377. Epub 2016 Aug 2.

Morbidity and medication consumption among users of home telecare services.

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Gerontology Research Group, Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de A Coruña (INIBIC), Complexo Hospitalario Universitario de A Coruña (CHUAC), SERGAS, Universidade da Coruña, A Coruña, Spain.


Telecare is a healthcare resource based on new technologies that, through the services offered, attempt to help elderly people to continue living in their homes. In this sense, first-generation telecare services have quickly developed in Europe. The aim of this work was to define the profile, pattern of medication consumption and disease frequencies of elderly users of a telecare service. The cross-sectional study involved 742 Spanish community-dwelling elders (85.3% of the total users aged 65 years and over who used a telecare service before the end of the data collection period). Data were collected between March and September 2012. Subjects' mean age was 83.3 (SD 6.6) years, and the majority lived alone (78.3%) and were female (85.8%). The mean Charlson comorbidity index score was 1.13 (SD 1.1), and the mean number of prescribed medications per day was 5.6 (SD 3.0). The most frequent diseases were hypertension (51.1%) and rheumatic disorders (44%); and the most consumed medications were those for the cardiovascular (75%) and nervous (65.2%) systems. For the total sample, the three main determinants of polymedication (five or more medications) were hypertension, anxiety-depressive symptoms and coronary heart disease. Regardless of the social elements contributing to the implementation of telecare services, specific health characteristics of potential users, such as morbidity and polypharmacy, should be carefully considered when implementing telecare services in the coming years.


comorbidity; elderly people; healthcare characteristics; polypharmacy; telecare; user's profile

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