Inappropriate medication use behavior is one of major causes of drug related events which lead to acute episodes and hospital visits among older adults. The purposes of this study were to investigate medication use behaviors, determine factors related to medication use behaviors, and explore means to prevent and solve problems related to medication use behaviors among older Thai adults. Using a descriptive qualitative design, this study employed an in-depth interview in 23 adults aged 60 years and older who experienced drug-related problems on a hospital visit and their caregivers. The study focus groups were conducted in 26 health care personnel.
Using a content analysis, this study revealed that medication use behaviors required capability to perform medication administration and capability to make a proper decision. Medication use behaviors involved: medication use method (medication non-adherence and unsafe self-medication), making choices of drug sources, and keeping and dispensing medication. Factors related to medication use behaviors comprised (1) pre-existing factors including individual capacity factors (e.g. knowledge, attitude, memory, and vision), and daily activity factors (e.g. working job, social activities, and caring for others) (2) precipitating factors including disease manifestation (e.g. severity, duration), and response to medication (e.g. experience relief and side effect), and (3) modifying factors including social influences (family, health care personnel, and media), medication-related factors (medication regimen complexity), physical environment (distance to hospital), and financial status.
The results of this study proposed 3 approaches to solve the problems related to medication use behaviors: reactive, proactive and systematic approaches. The results can be used in nursing education and other allied disciplines. Suggestion for future research was to test the model of factors related to medication use behaviors and to determine influencing factors. The results of the study also suggested that national and local governments develop database network system, and provide services to fulfill basic needs of the older Thai adults.