Helping older adults with their medication use problems: a qualitative study on perspectives and challenges of primary health care providers

Christina Malini Christopher, Mark Cheong Wing Loong, Ali Qais Blebil, Bhuvan KC, Deepa Alex, Mohamed Izham Mohamed Ibrahim, Norhasimah Ismail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Primary care providers help older adults with medication use problems in Malaysia and globally. They help older adults with medication management, appropriate use, and administration; however, their perspectives and challenges regarding medication use problems in older adults have not been adequately explored. 

Methods: The study used a qualitative methodology comprising 30 in-depth interviews among general practitioners and pharmacists in Penang, Malaysia, in public and private primary care settings. Participants were recruited based on purposive sampling. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and data were coded based on the principles of thematic analysis in NVivo. 

Objective: This study aims to understand primary care providers' perspectives and challenges regarding medication use problems experienced by older adults. 

Results: Six themes emerged from the study. Theme one highlighted the pharmaceutical care needs of older adults with sensory impairments and accessibility issues. The second and third themes explored medicines management support and potentially inappropriate medication use. Theme four supported collaborative practice, prescribing, and deprescribing among primary health care providers. Theme five discussed health service delivery aligned to older adults' health care needs. The final theme emphasised social and welfare support. 

Conclusion: This study identified various challenges professional primary care providers face in providing aligned healthcare services for older adults and proposed recommendations for further strengthening healthcare quality. Inputs from the primary healthcare system frontier are essential to reduce the challenges and uplift the quality of ageing populations' healthcare in Malaysia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105007
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Medication use,qualitative
  • Older adults
  • Primary care providers

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