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Study Finds 1 in 10 Stroke Survivors Need More Help Taking Medication

A study published in the BMJ Open found that over half of stoke patients require some degree of assistance with taking their medicine, and a sizable amount of these patients say they do not get the assistance they need.

The Stroke Association states that as many as four in ten people who have had a stroke will go on to experience another within the next ten years. Since a second stroke has a higher risk of disability and death than first time strokes, survivors must be sure they are punctual in taking their medicine daily in order to lower future risk.

As stroke sometimes results in severe impairments, patients can have a very difficult time administering their own medicine. Half of survivors heavily depend on others for everyday activities, this also can account for those needing more practical help taking their medicine, although that specific number is not known.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Queen Mary University of London developed a questionnaire together along with stroke survivors and caregivers. Six hundred participants across 18 GP practices in the UK completed the survey.

Fifty-six percent of respondents said they needed help taking medication, 50 percent also needed help with prescriptions and collecting medicine. In addition to these tasks, 28 percent said they needed help with getting medicines out of packaging, 36 percent said they needed to be reminded to take their medicine, 20 percent needed help with swallowing medicines, and 34 percent needed help checking to make sure medicines have been taken.

Researchers came to the conclusion that being dependent on others was linked to the unmet needs experienced with daily medicine taking.

One in ten of respondents said they feel they need more help when it comes to taking medicine. The most commonly reported areas in need of assistance is being reminded to take their medicines, dealing with prescriptions and the collection of medicines and getting medicines out of the packaging.

It was found that the younger stroke survivors were those more likely to miss their medicines, this could be possible as they are less likely to receive help from a caregiver.

Dr. Anna De Simoni from the University of Cambridge and Queen Mary University of London said there is a sizable minority of stroke survivors who do not receive all the assistance they need. She also emphasizes the importance of taking medication to prevent the risk of a second stroke.

The team of researchers highlight the need to develop new interventions that focus on the practicalities of taking medicines and aim at improving stroke survivors’ adherence to treatment.


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