Family caregivers’ facilitation of daily adult prescription medication use

Debra L. Roter, Siva Narayanan, Katherine Smith, Ray Bullman, Paula Rausch, Jennifer L. Wolff, G. Caleb Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe ways family members assist adult patients with prescription medications at home, during medical visits and at the pharmacy. Methods: Online survey of 400 adults (caregivers) who help another adult (care recipient) with prescription medication use. Regression modeled the contribution of caregiver communication during recipients’ medical visits, evaluation of physicians’ medication communication and discussions with the dispensing pharmacist on caregivers’ assistance with home medication management. Results: Female (68%) family members (94%) assisted care recipients with multimorbidity (mean 2.9 conditions) and polypharmacy (mean 3.2 prescriptions). On average, caregivers performed 3 visit communication behaviors (e.g., notetaking) and implemented 2.6 home medication management strategies (e.g., filling/monitoring pill boxes). Communication-related variables explained 17% of home medication management assistance; including caregivers’ visit communication (std. beta 0.31), physicians’ medication communication (std. beta 0.15) and pharmacist discussions (std. beta 0.10). The final model included recipients’ multimorbidity and caregiver education (std. betas 0.21 and 0.13) explaining 22% of caregiver assistance with home medication management. Conclusion: Caregivers’ assistance with safe and effective home medication use crosses care contexts and is facilitated by clinician and pharmacist communication. Practice implications: Support for caregiver engagement in healthcare conversations can contribute to patient adherence and family-centered, high quality care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)908-916
Number of pages9
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Medication adherence
  • Medication communication
  • Practical adherence support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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