Polypharmacy and medication regimen complexity as factors associated with staff informant rated quality of life in residents of aged care facilities: a cross-sectional study

Samanta Lalic, Kris M. Jamsen, Barbara C. Wimmer, Edwin C.K. Tan, Sarah N. Hilmer, Leonie Robson, Tina Emery, J. Simon Bell

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the association between polypharmacy with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and medication regimen complexity with HRQoL in residential aged care facilities (RACFs). Methods: A cross-sectional study of 383 residents from six Australian RACFs was conducted. The primary exposures were polypharmacy (≥9 regular medications) and the validated Medication Regimen Complexity Index (MRCI). The outcome measure was staff informant rated quality of life assessed using the Quality of Life Alzheimer’s disease (QoL-AD) scale. Covariates included age, sex, Charlson’s comorbidity index, activities of daily living, and dementia severity. Logistic quantile regression was used to characterize the association between polypharmacy and QoL-AD (model 1) and MRCI and QoL-AD (model 2). Results: The median age of the 383 residents was 88 years and 297 (78 %) residents were female. In total, 63 % of residents were exposed to polypharmacy and the median MRCI score (range) was 43.5 (4–113). After adjusting for the covariates, polypharmacy was not associated with either higher or lower QoL-AD scores (estimate −0.02; 95 % confidence interval (CI) −0.165, 0.124; p = 0.78). Similarly, after adjusting for the covariates, MRCI was not associated with either higher or lower QoL-AD scores (estimate −0.0009, 95 % CI −0.005, 0.003; p = 0.63). Conclusions: These findings suggest that polypharmacy and medication regimen complexity are not associated with staff informant rated HRQoL. Further research is needed to investigate how specific medication classes may impact change in quality of life over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1124
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Medication regimen complexity
  • Nursing homes
  • Polypharmacy
  • Quality of life
  • Residential aged care

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