Objectives of this thesis
The objectives of this thesis are to provide insight in the problems that older people
experience with the daily use of their medicines, to investigate the suitability of the design of medicines for older people and to explore approaches to prevent the occurrence of usability problems.
Outline of this thesis
This thesis consists of three sections. Chapter 2 focuses on the practical problems that older people experience with the daily use of their medication. Chapter 2.1 describes the prevalence of problems with opening medicine packaging in the elderly. Chapter 2.2 presents a qualitative analysis of practical problems that older people experience using their medicines, the management strategies they apply to overcome these problems and the potential clinical relevance of these problems and management strategies.
The studies reported in Chapter 3 focus on the suitability of the design of medicines for use by older people. In Chapter 3.1 we compared the ability of older people to break scored tablets with that of young adults. In Chapter 3.2 the design features of medicines that were related to practical problems with medication use in daily practice were investigated.
Chapter 4 focusses on the prevention of usability problems with medicines. Chapter 4.1 describes the attention of pharmacy technicians to problems with opening medicine packaging. Chapter 4.2 focuses on the development of in vitro studies for the investigation of safe mixing of solid oral medicines with food to overcome swallowing problems. In chapter 4.3 we investigated methods to evaluate the performance of score marks.
Finally, the results of these studies are summarized and put into a broader perspective in Chapter 5 with the aim to provide recommendations to improve the user-friendliness of medicines.