Residential differences in the use of pharmacies by older adults and their communication experiences with pharmacists

Paul L. Ranelli, Raymond T. Coward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This investigation compares adults (65 and older) living in two different types of communities on the characteristics of the pharmacies they use and their patterns of communicating with pharmacists. Telephone interviews were conducted with a random sample (N=400) of respondents, half residing in six nonmetropolitan counties (containing no towns of more than 4,000) and the other half in a single city (population approximately 130,000) located within a metropolitan county. Elders living in the sparsely populated nonmetropolitan areas were more apt to purchase their medications from an independent neighborhood pharmacy than their counterparts who lived in the large city. These pharmacies, however, were more likely to be located in another town. Differences between residential groups were also observed in the communication patterns that older patients had with their pharmacists. Elders residing in sparsely populated areas reported more frequent conversation with their pharmacists about general topics, although not about medicines or other health-related topics. The elders living in small and remote places also reported that they talked with their pharmacists longer, that communication about medications were more often initiated by the pharmacist, and that they were more likely to talk about their medications directly with their pharmacist rather than a non-pharmacist employee. The overall greater frequency of contact and communication between nonmetropolitan elders and their pharmacists would seem to be precursors to establishing a positive provider client relationship and may increase the probability of more personal, medication-related discussions. Further research is needed, however, to determine if these potentials are trans formed into realities and if they lead to more positive medical outcomes for older persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-32
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


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