Family carers’ experiences of managing older relative's medications: Insights from the MEMORABLE study

Publication Name

Patient Education and Counseling


Objective: To explore the burdens experienced by family carers who support older relatives to manage their medications at home. Methods: This study, based on a larger UK medication management study: MEdication Management in Older people: Realist Approaches Based on Literature and Evaluation (MEMORABLE), reports on findings from family carer interviews (n = 16). The five stages of medication management, identified in MEMORABLE, were used to inform the analysis. Results: Family carers described being involved in some or all five of the MEMORABLE stages to help manage older relatives’ medications. Their capacity to undertake this role was sometimes limited by the complex workload involved as well personal circumstances such as time, distance and relationships. Family carers perceived that their knowledge and skills in medication management improved with experience, but also described stress associated with information lag and gaps, risk and responsibility, and loss. They described medication management burdens that needed mitigation: ambiguity, concealment, unfamiliarity, fragmentation and in particular exclusion, conflicted interests and expectation of coping. Conclusion: To help mitigate these burdens, family carers should receive better information, training and support for this role. Practice implications: Continued reliance on family carers for medication management requires strategic recognition in policy, funding and practice.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Sponsor

National Institute for Health Research



Link to publisher version (DOI)