Factors affecting medication use in indigenous and non-indigenous older adults

  • Hemangi Surti

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 50% of patients suffering from chronic disease in developed countries do not take their medications regularly. Medication adherence ranges from 26% to 60% in persons aged 60 years or older. In Australia, patient non-adherence contributes to up to 50% of medication-related hospital admissions and in most cases it was considered preventable. Not surprisingly, older people use the most medicines because they generally have a greater disease burden. An increased number of medications can lead to non-adherence in the elderly with a related increased risk of morbidity and mortality.
    Indigenous people suffer from higher rates of infectious and chronic diseases than non-Indigenous people. Medication adherence is important and a significant issue for Indigenous Australians because they report higher morbidity and mortality than non-Indigenous populations in Australia due to their higher disease burden. The issue remains complicated because of poor understanding and different perceptions about disease, treatment, and Western medications amongst Indigenous people. Medication non-adherence appears to be more prevalent in Aboriginal people than non-Indigenous people and this is confirmed by the small number of studies that have shown poor and unsafe medication use and medication non-adherence among Aboriginal people. Issues of quality use of medication still need to be addressed.
    Recruitment of the participants: Non-Indigenous participants were recruited from an urban retirement village, a private nursing service and an independent housing estate.A total of 39 urban non-Indigenous people participated in the study. Indigenous participants were recruited from six remote communities and an urban health centre. A total of 26 remote Indigenous and 27 urban Indigenous people participated in this study.
    Method: A structured questionnaire using the Brief Medication Questionnaire (BMQ)and Belief about Medicines Questionnaire (BMQ-specific) was used to interview participants.
    Results: The rate of hospitalization increased more rapidly with age in the Indigenous participants than in non-Indigenous participants (P = 0.002). Remote Indigenous participants took significantly fewer medications than urban Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants. According to the BMQ, urban Indigenous and remote Indigenous participants reported significantly higher potential for non-adherence than non-Indigenous participants (P = <0.0001).
    Conclusion: Elderly persons living in any community have problems with their medications. This study strongly suggests that there is an urgent need for education programs and remote area pharmacists to assist Indigenous people with their medications.

    Date of Award2008
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorR RUMBLE (Supervisor) & Mark Naunton (Supervisor)

    Cite this