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article imagePeople on heart meds need behavior changes too

By Tim Sandle     Apr 6, 2015 in Health
People who suffer heart failure and recover must take medications for the rest of their lives. Remembering to take the medication can be a problem. A researcher argues that patients must adapt their behavior rather than healthcare providers.
Forgetting to take heart medication can be risky and will often result in hospitalization. Various methods have been tried in order to help remind patients to take their medications. However, no research into this area has determined which intervention techniques are most effective.
As a step forward, a University of Missouri teacher has found that interventions to encourage patients to take their medications as prescribed are most effective when the focus is on changing the behavior of patients rather than changing the behavior of healthcare providers.
This new research has been performed by Todd Ruppar, assistant professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. Ruppar's main interests are chronic illness self-management in older adults; health behavior change interventions; and adherence to medication regimens.
For his study, Ruppar compared characteristics of 29 medication adherence interventions for individuals who admitted that they were not taking their heart medication as prescribed. Through questionnaires and focus groups Ruppar and his research team found that interventions directed at health care providers or education-based interventions that focused on instructing individuals about their medications were less effective than interventions that focused on changing the behavior of patients.
Ruppar's findings concluded that health care professionals need to maintain a "patient-centered" direction when developing strategies to improve heart failure medication rates. in addition, the academic notes that health providers must improve their skills when addressing non-adherence to medications with their patients. This includes helping patients to establish treatment regimes.
In terms of strategies for patients to follow, Ruppar suggests individuals who often forget to take their medications consistently should try associating taking their medication with an already established routine such as using a mouthwash. Ruppar adds that seven-day pill organizers can assist patients by reminding them if they have taken the required number of pill for a given day.
The research has been published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. The paper is titled "Medication adherence interventions for heart failure patients: A meta-analysis."
More about heart meds, Medication, Heart attack, angina
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