BACKGROUND: Older patients prescribed multiple medications commonly experience difficulties with adherence. High-quality evidence on interventions targeting older patients is lacking. Theory is rarely used to tailor adherence solutions. This study aimed to pilot test a novel intervention, developed using the Theoretical Domains Framework, which guides community pharmacists in identifying adherence barriers and delivering tailored solutions (behaviour change techniques). Key study procedures (e.g. recruitment, data collection) for a future randomised controlled trial (cRCT) were also assessed.
METHODS: Using purposive sampling, this non-randomised pilot study aimed to recruit 12 community pharmacies (six in Northern Ireland; six in London, England). Pharmacists were trained to deliver the intervention to non-adherent older patients (maximum 10 per pharmacy; target n = 60-120) aged ≥ 65 years (reduced to 50 years due to recruitment challenges) and prescribed ≥ 4 regular medicines. The intervention, guided by an iPad web-application, was delivered over 3-4 face-to-face or telephone sessions, tailored to specific barriers to adherence. We assessed the feasibility of collecting adherence data (primary outcome: self-report and dispensing records), health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and unplanned hospitalisations (secondary outcomes) at baseline and 6-months. The final decision on progressing to a cRCT, using pre-defined 'stop-amend-go' criteria, is presented.
RESULTS: Fifteen pharmacists from 12 pharmacies were recruited and trained. One pharmacy subsequently dropped out. Sixty patients were recruited (meeting the 'Amend' progression criteria), with 56 receiving the intervention. Adherence barriers were identified for 55 patients (98%) and a wide range of behaviour change solutions delivered (median: 5 per patient). Self-report and dispensing adherence data were available for 37 (61.7%) and 44 (73.3%) patients, respectively. HRQOL data were available for 35 (58.3%) patients. GP-reported and self-reported hospitalisations data were available for 47 (78.3%) and 23 (38.3%) patients, respectively. All progression concepts were met (nine 'Go' and three 'Amend' criteria).
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the feasibility of key study procedures (e.g. pharmacy recruitment) and delivery of a tailored adherence intervention in community pharmacies. However, modifications are required to enhance issues identified with patient recruitment, retention and missing data. A future definitive cRCT will explore the effectiveness of the intervention.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN, ISRCTN73831533 , Registered 12 January 2018.