Author(s): Johnson VR, Jacobson KL, Gazmararian JA, Blake SC
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To explore whether social support helps patients with limited health literacy adhere to their medication regimens. METHODS: We interviewed 275 pharmacy patients and assessed social support's influence on medication adherence for those with limited vs. adequate health literacy. We talked with patients (n=26) and pharmacists (n=7) to explore possible explanations for the quantitative findings. RESULTS: Social support was associated with better medication adherence for patients with adequate health literacy but not those with limited health literacy (p<0.05). When individual subscales for social support were analyzed, having a trusted confidant was the only type of social support associated with better medication adherence for limited-literacy patients (p<0.05). Comments from patients and pharmacists suggest that limited-literacy patients were less likely to ask the pharmacists questions and infrequently brought relatives with them to the pharmacy. CONCLUSION: Unless they have a trusted confidant, limited-literacy patients might be reluctant to ask others for the kind of help needed to take their medicines correctly. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Pharmacists need training to increase their awareness of limited health literacy and to communicate effectively with all patients, regardless of their literacy skills. To succeed, pharmacists also need the support of the health care systems where they work. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
This article was published in Patient Educ Couns
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy