A systematic review of older patients’ experiences and perceptions of communication about managing medication across transitions of care

Guncag Ozavci, Tracey Bucknall, Robyn Woodward-Kron, Carmel Hughes, Christine Jorm, Kathryn Joseph, Elizabeth Manias

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Communication about managing medications may be difficult when older people move across transitions of care. Communication breakdowns may result in medication discrepancies or incidents. Objective: The aim of this systematic review was to explore older patients’ experiences and perceptions of communication about managing medications across transitions of care. Design: A systematic review. Methods: A comprehensive review was conducted of qualitative, quantitative and mixed method studies using CINAHL Complete, MEDLINE, Embase and PsycINFO, Web of Science, INFORMIT and Scopus. These databases were searched from inception to 14.12.2018. Key article cross-checking and hand searching of reference lists of included papers were also undertaken. Inclusion criteria: studies of the medication management perspectives of people aged 65 or older who transferred between care settings. These settings comprised patients’ homes, residential aged care and acute and subacute care. Only English language studies were included. Comments, case reports, systematic reviews, letters, editorials were excluded. Thematic analysis was undertaken by synthesising qualitative data, whereas quantitative data were summarised descriptively. Methodological quality was assessed with the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Results: The final review comprised 33 studies: 12 qualitative, 17 quantitative and 4 mixed methods studies. Twenty studies addressed the link between communication and medication discrepancies; ten studies identified facilitators of self-care through older patient engagement; 18 studies included older patients’ experiences with health professionals about their medication regimen; and, 13 studies included strategies for communication about medications with older patients. Poor communication between primary and secondary care settings was reported as a reason for medication discrepancy before discharge. Older patients expected ongoing and tailored communication with providers and timely, accurate and written information about their medications before discharge or available for the post-discharge period. Conclusions: Communication about medications was often found to be ineffective. Most emphasis was placed on older patients' perspectives at discharge and in the post-discharge period. There was little exploration of older patients’ views of communication about medication management on admission, during hospitalisation, or transfer between settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-291
Number of pages19
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication
  • Medication management
  • Older patients
  • Patient experience
  • Systematic review
  • Transitions of care

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