Background: Medication adherence is a key factor in the therapy of chronic diseases in older people. It is important to investigate the effect of health literacy on medication adherence in this patient population. Health literacy can be summarized as an individual’s ability to understand and interpret the provided medical information and to behave appropriately based on this information.
Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between health literacy and medication adherence in older people with chronic disease.
Methods: A total of 175 patients admitted to the family health center clinic in Bursa, Turkey, who were older than 65 years old, were enrolled in this cross-sectional study using the convenience sampling method. A priori power analysis was conducted to determine the required sample size to reach 90% power. The Turkish version of the 8-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-8) was used to assess medication adherence. The European Health Literacy Survey Questionnaire (HLS-EU-Q47) was used to evaluate health literacy. Disability associated with dyspnea was assessed using the Medical Research Council (MRC) dyspnea scale.
Results: The data showed that, according to dyspnea status and diagnosis, medication adherence varied. In this sample, medication adherence in elderly patients was not associated with health literacy. Instead, medication adherence was associated with the patient’s disability and the course of the disease.
Discussion and conclusions: Improving health literacy may enhance the medication adherence of older people with chronic disease. The development, practice and evaluation of health literacy interventions for older people with chronic conditions are important to increase medication adherence and potentially improve patient outcomes. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2020; 34(2):90-96]
Keywords: Health literacy, medication adherence, older patients, chronic disease, dyspnea