Therapy compliance and medication safety among vulnerable seniors at home


Jan Meskens

Nursing Training Wit-Gele Kruis (Flemish Brabant), Head of Department and Project Leader

+32 (0)16 31 95 50

Therapy compliance and medication safety among vulnerable seniors at home

This project wishes to promote therapy compliance and medication safety among vulnerable seniors at home. We want to achieve this by clearly defining the role of the caretakers involved, and to have them cooperate more efficiently. In this way, therapy can be applied correctly and complications can be avoided - with all the (economic) advantages this entails. Furthermore, we look for efficient technologies that support, safeguard and promote continuity and medication safety.

A case study

Bob is 80 years old and lives alone in his home. He stays in contact with his family, but his children and grandchildren all have busy jobs and are very active in community life. Someone regularly stops by during the weekend and there are mutual agreements to come get Bob on Sunday.
Bob can still take care of himself physically; he calls upon household help for maintaining the household.
However, Bob has difficulties with taking his daily medication correctly and on time. Therefore he uses the ‘intelligent medication dispenser’.

A home nurse comes by every week to prepare his medication. This occurs on the basis of a correct and current medication schedule that is made available by the family doctor and is followed by the pharmacist.

The dispenser emits a sound signal when it is time to take medication. The dispenser only opens the section in which the medication that must be taken at that time is prepared. If Bob does not take his medication, an alarm is sent to a coordination center. The staff member at the alarm center then contacts Bob to remind him again that he has to take his medication.

If Bob would not answer the call, a nurse would visit him.

The limited experience that has already been built up with the dispenser shows that this way of working effectively answers the problems of certain target groups, such as persons starting to suffer from dementia.  On the other hand, the current dispenser is often not adapted to the nature and amount of medication that many elderly people have to take. For other target groups, we again have to look for other solutions, such as technological support, or the redistribution of the caregivers’ roles.