The Association of Caregiver Characteristics and Caregivers’ Perceived Difficulty in Medication Management Tasks
Background: Medication management tasks are commonly performed by family caregivers caring for patients with dementia, but caregivers also reported difficulties in performing these tasks.
Objectives: Using the 2017 National Study of Caregiving (NSOC) and the 2017 National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), this study examined the association between caregiver characteristics and caregiver difficulty in performing medication management tasks (e.g., ordering medications, keeping track of medications, giving shots).
Methods: The main independent variable was the number of medication management tasks performed by the caregivers. The dependent variable was difficulty in performing medication management tasks. Other variables of interest included caregiver age, sex, education, co-residence with the care recipient, and use of support services. This study used the Pearlin’s Stress and Coping Model to select other control variables from hundreds of variables contained in the NSOC. A lasso logistic regression model was used to account for the large amount of other control variables.
Results: Caregiver difficulty was found mainly in keeping track of medications or giving shots (42.4%). More medication management tasks were significantly related to caregiver difficulty [OR=2.71; 95% CI (1.84 - 3.99)]. A significant association linking support service use with task difficulty was also observed [OR=1.82; 95% CI (1.06 - 3.13)], which warrants additional research.
Conclusions: Caregiver difficulty was found mainly in keeping track of medications or giving shots. More medication management tasks were significantly related to caregiver difficulty. Since patients with dementia are often on multiple medications, it is crucial to ensure medication management is done correctly to avoid adverse health consequences.
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