How can managing medicines be improved for people with dementia?
With a high number of people with dementia living with another medical condition or disability as well as dementia, most will be taking a number of medicines. The COMPARE study, now recruiting through Join Dementia Research, is looking at how managing medicines can be improved for people with dementia.
We caught up with Dr Heather Barry, Research Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast, where the study is being conducted, to find out more.
What are the main aims of the COMPARE study?
People with dementia may have special requirements in relation to their medicines compared with the rest of the population. This might be due to memory problems and communication difficulties. The challenges faced by people with dementia may affect the way in which doctors prescribe and care for these patients. There has been limited research on how medicines are prescribed, reviewed, given and taken (all parts of medicines management) in people with dementia, particularly for those living alone in their own homes and cared for by GPs and other members of the primary care team. The aim of this study is to improve medicines management for people with dementia, by talking to a range of people who may be able to help us do so. We are particularly interested in talking to people with dementia who are living on their own in their own homes and who are taking four or more medicines.
What does it involve for a participant?
A researcher will arrange to visit the person with dementia in their own home to conduct a face-to-face interview about medicines management. During this interview, the person with dementia will be asked a series of questions about their medicines and how they currently manage them, any problems they face, and things that help them with their medicines. Each person will receive £50 for taking part in the study.
How long is the study for? / Is it a one-off visit?
People with dementia will only be visited (interviewed) once in this study, and the interview usually lasts between 30-60 minutes.
What do you hope the outcomes of the study will be?
In addition to speaking to people with dementia, we are also conducting separate interviews with carers of people with dementia, GPs and community pharmacists to obtain their views on how people with dementia manage their medicines. We will then combine all of this information, in order to develop a plan of how to improve medicines management for people with dementia.
Where is the study based?
The study is based in Northern Ireland and we are recruiting people with dementia who live anywhere in the province.
Why are you interested in dementia research?
Seven out of ten people with dementia are living with another medical condition or disability as well as dementia, which means that most people with dementia will be taking a number of medicines. However we recognise that for people with dementia, managing medicines can become increasingly difficult, and may lead to anxiety for both the person themselves and their family members and carers. In addition, health and social care services, need to adapt to meet the needs of individuals. During our research we are particularly interested in how primary healthcare professionals, such as GPs and community pharmacists, can help and support people with dementia (and their carers) to ensure they can safely remain living at home for as long as possible.
You can see if you are eligible for this study – and others around the nation by logging into your Join Dementia Research account.
Still not registered with Join Dementia Research? Why not sign up today?