Background: Therapeutic decision making, prescribing, administering and managing medications can be difficult for people with dementia. Objectives: To explore stakeholder roles in medication management for people with dementia, including barriers and enablers to achieving those roles. Methods: Focus groups were held with stakeholders (consumers, general practitioners, nurses and pharmacists) from both rural and metropolitan communities in two Australian states. Focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed using an inductive approach.
Results: Nine focus groups were held with 55 participants. Four major themes were identified: supporting the role of the person with dementia, carer roles and challenges, health professional roles, and process and structure barriers to medication management. Stakeholders discussed the importance of advance care planning, and the potential benefits of early implementation of dose administration aids to support patients in self-managing their medication. Carers were seen to have a vital role as patient advocates, but carer burden and changes in the patient-carer roles acted as barriers to this role. General practitioners were perceived as the main care coordinator for a person with dementia, with effective interprofessional collaboration and communication with allied health professionals and specialists further enabling optimisation of medication use. A lack of evidence, guidelines and practitioner training to guide prescribing and deprescribing decisions in people with dementia were mentioned as barriers to medication management.
Conclusion: Medication management is increasingly challenging for people with dementia and each stakeholder perceives that they have a different role and faces different barriers and enablers. Future research should focus on improving the evidence base to guide prescribing, facilitating stakeholder communication and ensuring early documentation of patient wishes for the future.
- Cognitive impairment
- Family carers