A qualitative study exploring medication management in people with dementia living in the community and the potential role of the community pharmacist

Ian D. Maidment, Lydia Aston, Tiago Moutela, Chris G. Fox, Andrea Hilton

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Background: The prevalence of dementia is increasing rapidly. People with dementia may be prescribed complex medication regimens, which may be challenging for them and any carers involved to safely manage.

Objective: To describe and understand the key challenges, in relation to medication issues, experienced by people with dementia and their informal carers dwelling in the community and the potential role of community pharmacists.

Design: Qualitative semi-structured interviews.

Participants: People with dementia, informal carers, and Health and Social Care Professionals (HSCP).

Results: Thirty-one participants (eleven informal carers; four people with dementia; sixteen HSCP) were interviewed. Three key themes were identified: the key challenges; improving medication management; and the role of pharmacists. The caring role commonly included responsibility for medication management which created both practical problems and an emotional burden. This burden was worsened by any difficulty in obtaining support and if the person with dementia was on a complex regimen. Participants believed that the process could be improved by co-ordinated and on-going support from HSCP, which should focus on the informal carer. Medication reviews,particularly when conducted in the home environment, could be helpful.

Conclusion: Medication management for people with dementia living in the community is a complex process and informal carers have a key role, which they frequently find challenging. Community pharmacists could have an enhanced role in this area, but would need to work within a more multi-disciplinary environment outside the pharmacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)929–942
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number5
Early online date19 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • dementia
  • medication management
  • informal carers
  • community pharmacists

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