The experiences and beliefs of older people in Scottish very sheltered housing about using multi-compartment compliance aids

Derek Stewart (Corresponding Author), Kathrine Gibson Smith, Joan MacLeod, Alison Strath, Vibhu Paudyal, Katrina Forbes-McKay, Scott Cunningham, Katie MacLure

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Background Multi-compartment compliance aids (MCAs) are promoted as a potential solution to medicines non-adherence despite the absence of high quality evidence of effectiveness of MCA use impacting medicines adherence or any clinical outcomes. Furthermore, there is a lack of qualitative research which focuses on the perspectives of older people receiving MCAs. Objectives To describe experiences and beliefs surrounding very sheltered housing (VSH) residents’ use of MCAs with emphasis on issues of personalisation, reablement, shared decision-making, independence and support. Setting VSH in north east Scotland. Methods Qualitative, face-to-face interviews with 20 residents (≥ 65 years, using MCA > 6 months) in three VSH complexes. Interviews focused on: when and why the MCA was first introduced; who was involved in making that decision; how the MCA was used; perceptions of benefit; and any difficulties encountered. Interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed and analysed using a framework approach. Main outcome measure Experiences and beliefs surrounding use of MCAs. Results Nine themes were identified: shared decision-making; independence; knowledge and awareness of why MCA had been commenced; support in medicines taking; knowledge and awareness of medicines; competent and capable to manage medicines; social aspects of carers supporting MCA use; benefits of MCAs; and drawbacks. Conclusion Experiences and beliefs are diverse and highly individual, with themes identified aligning to key strategies and policies of the Scottish Government, and other developed countries around the world, specifically personalisation shared decision making, independence, reablement and support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-402
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

The research team gratefully acknowledge all research participants, Rory Lynch for comments on study design and Jeanette Lowe for transcribing all the interviews.

This work was supported by research funding from Aberdeen City Community Health Partnership. The funder who played no role in the design, execution, analysis and interpretation of data, or writing of the study.


  • Ageing
  • behavioural medicine
  • geriatrics
  • patient adherence
  • patient education
  • primary care
  • Scotland


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