Medication-related stressors among family caregivers

P. L. Ranelli, S. L. Aversa

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The contribution of medications to stress among family caregivers and the need of caregivers for pharmaceutical care services were studied. Persons in northern Florida who were caring for a family member at home who was at least 55 years of age and routinely took at least one medication were asked if they would consent to an interview. The interview was designed to elicit information about the characteristics of the caregiver and care recipient, stressors stemming directly from the medications (such as adverse effects) and arising from problems in managing the drug regimen (such as compliance), the mediators of medication-related stress (such as services received from the pharmacist), and the outcomes of stress (such as the caregiver's satisfaction with services). A total of 31 caregivers agreed to be interviewed. The mean ± S.D. ages of caregivers and recipients were 63 ± 13 and 80 ± 10 years, respectively. Medication-related tasks accounted for only 7.7% of the total caregiving time. However, medications contributed substantially to caregivers' stress, with 10 caregivers (32%) reporting problems directly related to medications and 6 (19%) and 16 (52%) reporting problems in managing the drug regimen currently or within the past year, respectively. Twenty-two (71%) used the same pharmacy regularly, and 18 (58%) saw the same pharmacist regularly. Twenty-five caregivers talked with others about medication concerns. Of these, 18 (72%) discussed their charge's drug therapy with a physician but only 10 (40%) with a pharmacist. The caregivers seemed satisfied with the structural characteristics of the pharmacy and the general services of the pharmacist, but only a minority was satisfied with four specific cognitive services; many did not know they were available. Persons caring for elderly family members at home reported stress related to their charge's medications and showed a need for pharmaceutical care services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-79
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospital Pharmacy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


  • Drug administration
  • Drug information
  • Health care
  • Patient information
  • Patients
  • Pharmaceutical care
  • Pharmaceutical services
  • Pharmacists
  • Stress


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