Poor medication management can limit the benefits people obtain from their medication. Taking many tablets makes managing them more difficult and more likely that someone would forget or choose not to take them. It also increases the risk of side-effects.

The main aim of the MEMORABLE study is to improve medication management for and with older people. We caught up with Dr. Ian Maidment, Chief Investigator of the study, to ask him more about it.

medication management What are the main aims of the study?

The MEMORABLE study aims to improve the way older people, including people living with dementia, are able to manage their medications, particularly where this involves taking a lot of different medicines.

We will do this by looking at what has been written about medication management. We will also talk to older people, carers, and doctors, nurses, pharmacists and social care staff to understand their day-to-day experiences and what they think would make managing medication better and easier. Based on this, we will then make suggestions about how medication management might be improved.

What does it involve for a participant?

Participants will be asked to take part in an interview which will last up to an hour and will be audio recorded. It will take place at a location and time that suits them, and can be either face-to-face or by phone, whatever is more convenient.

We will ask for some background information about the older person, such as their age, how many different medications they are taking, the reasons they are taking them and for how long. In the interviews, we will also ask about what, in their experience, has helped with medication management and what has proved less helpful and how they think things might be improved.

How long is the study for? / Is it a one-off visit?

The study is recruiting until the end of May. It will involve one interview, although there may be a short follow-up interview to understand if our ideas seem sensible and are likely to improve medication management.

What do you hope the outcomes of the study will be?

The study may not directly benefit the people who take part. However, people who do take part in projects like this often benefit from sharing examples of what has worked for them and improvements they feel will make a difference. We believe the findings from MEMORABLE will improve medication management for older people, including those with dementia, in the longer term.

Where is the study based?

The study is based at Aston University (West Midlands), and is funded by the NHS National Institute of Health Research.

Who can take part? (eligibility criteria)

We are looking for volunteers, including people with mild dementia, aged 60 years or more and living at home. They should also be taking at least five different medications each day – or if less, they should be taking a number of medications that are difficult to manage.

Carers can take part too, if they are providing care as a family member or friend of an older person, with or without dementia, who has to take a lot of different medications and who needs help to cope with them.

Finally, practitioners such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists or social care staff can take part if they have experience and expertise from working with older people in this situation.