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Communications: visual information about medicines for older patients
chapterposted on 16.09.2020 by Karel Van-Der-Waarde
Division of a book, which in a scholarly context usually treats a part of a larger subject in a stand-alone manner.
Situation: People take medicines to cure, to relieve symptoms or to prevent diseases. When people get older, it is likely that more medicines need to be taken to support wellbeing. At the same time, cognitive and physical abilities might diminish, which could make taking medicines an increasingly arduous and challenging task. Most medicines are accompanied by extensive and fairly complex information. Reading, synthesising, understanding and applying written instructions of different medicines will also become increasingly difficult. Questions: What happens if a patient needs to consider the information that accompanies a simple painkiller? Does the information that is provided with, for example, ibuprofen help to integrate its use into a complex regimen, and does it make allowances for diminishing abilities? Approach: A collection of European ibuprofen packaging was analysed to evaluate if and how current information relates to both trends. Seventeen patients over 65 years of age were interviewed. Results: Patients who want to use ibuprofen encounter substantial problems with the information contents and visual design. The main problems relate to difficulties in finding out what ibuprofen is for, deciphering texts, difficulties in applying information to a personal situation, difficulties considering risks and difficulties about establishing the correct dose. Discussion: There does not seem to be an 'information strategy' that supports people to take medicines. The analysis showed some severe gaps and overlaps in the available information about ibuprofen. This affects the wellbeing of older patients. Conclusion: There is a need for change in the regulatory framework to accommodate for ageing processes and to make sure that medicines can be taken correctly by older patients. An 'information strategy' that is based on the actions of patients might provide a suitable approach.
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- Design and Creative Arts