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Medication Nonadherence Risk Assessment Cheat Sheet by

assessment     medication     healhtcare     nonadherence


Medi­cation Nonadh­erence Screening Tool­—pr­ovides insight into factors that may contribute to nonadh­erence.


Have patient or caregiver gather all current medica­tions (presc­ribed, OTC, herbal; remind about eye drops, liquids, inhalers, creams & ointme­nts). This assessment needs to be done with the patient if the patient self admini­sters or partially admini­sters medica­tions. This assessment should be done with the caregiver who admini­sters the medica­tions if the patient does not self-a­dmi­nister.

STEP 1 Determine what the patient knows

Determine what the patient (suppl­ement caregiver when approp­riate) knows about their medication regimen.

Sit down with the patient with all medica­tions within reach. The clinician opens the first bottle and pours out two or three pills into the lid of the bottle and shows this to the patient and asks “What is the name of this medica­tion?”
Do not allow the patient to see the label on the bottle yet. Then ask “What do you take this medicine for?”
Follow these questions with “How much and how often do you take this medicine?”
Ask the patient to identify the color of the tablet or capsule being shown. Record reported inform­ation on Medication Nonadh­erence Risk Assessment Form.

STEP 2 Label Reading

After returning the pills to the bottle, hand the bottle of medicine to the patient. If the patient was not able to tell you the name of the medicine just by seeing the pill; ask the patient to read the label and tell you the name of the medicine. Then ask the patient to tell you how many refills they have left. This step will provide some insight into the patient’s ability to read labels and identify specific components of the label.

Factors of Nonadh­erence

STEP 3 Perceived Efficacy & Safety

While the patient is still holding the prescr­iption bottle, say the name of the drug again and mention the reason for use that was
self-r­epo­rted. If the reason stated does not make sense, mention to the patient the typical reasons that this type of medicine is prescr­ibed.
Example 1: “Now Mrs. Smith you have in your hand your Accupril. You said that your doctor gave this to you for your blood pressure and your heart. In your opinion how well do you believe this medicine is working for you?” Wait for the answer and then ask, “Have you had any side-e­ffects or problems taking this medicine?” Record the patient’s answers on the assessment form.
Example 2: “Now Mr. Jones you have in your hand your Accupril. You said that your doctor gave this to you for your prostate. Accupril is usually used to lower blood pressure, help the heart, or protect the kidneys partic­ularly in patients with diabetes.” Pause for the patient’s reply. Usually this type of inform­ation will jog their memory or they may say something like “Well I do have high blood pressure, maybe I got my inform­ation mixed up.”
You can also help relieve anxiety by stating that you will double­-check with the patient’s doctor about their medicines and what the doctor is using them for, and you will share this inform­ation with the patient later. Finally, for each medication you should ask if the patient thinks that this medication is necessary and record their answer on the assessment form.

STEP 4 Demons­tra­tions

• Have the patient demons­trate the ability to open various packaging that their medica­tions are currently in. Example: pill bottle, eye drop bottle, unit dose packaging, pillboxes (some have very tight seals and small grasps).
• Have the patient demons­trate the ability to self-m­edicate approp­ria­tely. For example say ”I want you to pretend it is morning and it is time to take your medicine. Show me what and how much medicine you would take.” Have the patient do everything they would do to prepare to take their medicine without actually taking it. If there are special instru­ctions, such as take on an empty stomach or take with food, or multiple inhalers, or eye drops, ask the patient to tell you exactly how they would take everyt­hing. For pill box patients, have them demons­trate the proper use of the pill-box.

Patient Specific Demons­tra­tions
• If the patient uses an inhaler, nebulizer, eyedrop or other non-oral medica­tion, have the patient demons­trate technique or at a minimum describe technique.

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