Research Article

Improving drug compliance after hospital discharge.

Br Med J 1977; 2 doi: (Published 03 September 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;2:618
  1. E T MacDonald,
  2. J B MacDonald,
  3. M Phoenix


    The effect of counselling on medication errors was assessed in 165 elderly patients after leaving hospital. Counselling was effective, with counselled patients making under one-third of the errors made by uncounselled patients. Three types of memory aid were tried to supplement counselling. The pill wheel increased errors, a tablet identification card was unhelpful, and only a tear-off daily calendar seemed to improve results modestly. Counselling was virtually as effective in improving compliance in poorly orientated patients. A designated member of staff should spend about 15 minutes with each elderly patient before discharge to ensure that the discharge drug regimen is fully understood and remembered, that old tablets are destroyed and that other people's tablets are not taken.