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Older adults can take medicines more safely and effectively by charting their daily routines
Date:9/9/2008

medtable, probably because it was too rigid about meal times.

Experiment 2 included 64 older adults who also averaged 69 years old, but used a redesigned medtable and raised the maximum time for complex problems from 10 to 15 minutes. With these changes, the authors found that the medtable compared with blank paper supported significantly more accurate and efficient collaborative problem-solving. These benefits occurred primarily for the complex-schedule problems.

The medtable and blank paper may have made it easier to solve problems by reducing demands on working memory, with the medtable the more effective of the two because it was designed to support problem-solving processes. The authors said the medtable also may help by integrating provider knowledge of medicine with patient knowledge of daily routines.

The authors see this tool as most suitable for pharmacists or nurses who help chronically ill older adults manage complex medication regimens. They wrote that the medtable may also be suitable when time is less of a barrier, such as when nurses or caregivers work with older patients at home. In the future, electronic medtables could possibly expedite the updating of comprehensive medication lists. The authors wrote, "It would be important for patients to take home a copy of their medtable schedule to guide adherence."

The research team is investigating medtable use by pharmacists and nurses who work with patients with low health literacy, defined by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services as "The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions."


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