The essence of the experience of polypharmacy in the life-world of the community dwelling elder



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Thirteen percent of the United States’ population is 65 years of age and older, and\r\nconsumes 33% of prescribed medications and 40% of over the counter medications. Most\r\nresearch addressing polypharmacy in the elderly population focuses on the consequences\r\nof polypharmacy, such as medication misadventures, falls, fractures, and death—factors\r\nthat are easily measured and quantified. Few researchers have studied living\r\npolypharmacy through the perspective of the one experiencing the phenomenon, which is\r\nnot easily measured or quantified. This topic, living polypharmcy in the life-world of the\r\ncommunity dwelling elder, is significant to healthcare providers, nurses included, as it\r\nfocuses on the culture of the elderly and allows new consideration of everyday, taken-forgranted\r\npractices such as changes in terminology. The research questions for this study\r\nwere: 1) What are the common essences (meaning) in experiencing the meaning of\r\npolypharmacy in the life-world of the community dwelling elder; 2) What impact does\r\ntaking multiple medications have on the quality of life in the life-world of the older adult;\r\n3) What impact does Medicare Part D (New Drug Plan) have on "living polypharmacy";\r\nand 4) What do community dwelling elders want healthcare professionals to know about\r\npolypharmacy in their life-world? The purpose of this Husserlian phenomenological\r\nstudy was to describe the experience of living polypharmacy. A purposive sample of 20\r\ncommunity dwelling elders volunteered, and during tape-recorded interviews they were\r\nasked open-ended questions. The interviews were transcribed verbatim. Colaizzi’s (1978)\r\ninterpretive stages (7) were utilized for analysis. Criteria for trustworthiness were\r\naddressed by using Lincoln & Guba’s (1985) rigor. Twelve theme clusters emerged from\r\nthe data. These themes were integrated into three overarching topical areas deemed\r\nrelevant and essential to an expanded perspective of living polypharmacy: collaborating\r\nand co-creating, communicating, and caring. Implications for the thematic results of this\r\nstudy included increased understanding of the phenomenon of living polypharmacy and\r\nthe development of an educational program that addresses a cultural change movement\r\nviii\r\ntowards restructuring the status quo. Implications address a consumer-focused, life-world\r\ndriven medication management model (MMM).



polypharmacy, multiple-medications, elderly