Patient-centered instructions for medications prescribed for the treatment of heart failure

Daniel G. Morrow, Michael Weiner, Melissa M. Deer, James M. Young, Sarah Dunn, Patricia McGuire, Michael D. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chronic heart failure (CHF) is associated with reduced functional capacity and quality of life, particularly among older adults. Complex medication regimens for CHF challenge older patients' ability to adhere to them, in part because of age-related cognitive decline and poor communication about medications. Objective: This article describes patient-centered instructions for taking CHF medications that were developed as part of a multifaceted pharmacy-based intervention to improve medication adherence and health-related outcomes among older adults with CHF. The findings of 3 initial validation studies investigating patients' reactions to the instructions are reported. Methods: Patients' responses to the instructions were measured using focus group (study 1) and questionnaire (studies 2 and 3) techniques. Results: Overall, older adults with CHF in the 3 studies preferred the patient-centered instructions to the standard pharmacy instructions (93.8% in study 1, 65.0% in Study 2). In addition, participants' preferences depended on their medication-related goals. A preference for patient-centered instructions reflected a focus on case of understanding (as supported by the use of large type size, icons, and patient-centered organization), whereas a preference for the standard pharmacy instructions reflected a focus on the amount of information provided about drug interactions (studies 2 and 3). Conclusions: In the 3 validation studies, older adults with CHF tended to prefer the patient-centered instructions to the standard pharmacy instructions, although the results were not statistically significant in study 2. This suggests that the use of such instructions may improve patients' medication knowledge and their adherence to treatment regimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-52
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal Geriatric Pharmacotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Health communication
  • Medication instructions
  • Patient medication adherence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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