Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science Honours


School of Nursing

First Supervisor

Diane Patton

Second Supervisor

Amanda Blackmore


This study was designed to estimate the extent to which elderly patients complied with their medication regimens post-discharge from three general medical wards of an acute hospital in Perth. Relationships between medication compliance and age, education, cognitive function, medication supervision, number of drugs taken, number of doses per drug per day, regimen recall and drug knowledge were observed. The sample of the study was the general medical patients of three medical wards who were 60 years or older, fluent in the English language, returning to a home in the metropolitan area with no full-time nursing care needs and discharged during the 14-day data collection period. Participants were visited in hospital prior to discharge and at home seven days after being discharged. During the home visit each medication had it's residual pills counted. This provided a measure of medication compliance. The Mini-Mental State Examination developed by Folstein, Folstein and HcHugh (1975) was used to measure cognitive function. The mean compliance rate for each of the 26 medications observed was 86.4% (SD 19.39, range 21.4-100\). The 11 participants took an average (mean) of 89.1% (SD 9.63, range 67.8-100%) of all their medications. Medication compliance among recently discharge elderly patients was directly related to cognitive function (r = .570, p < .05), inversely related to the number of drugs taken (r = -.599, p < .025) and significantly dependent on the patient's ability to recall the drug regimen (x1 = 4.49, 2, p < .05) and drug knowledge (x1 = 4.21, p < .05). The findings demonstrate that the medication compliance of recently discharged elderly patients is less than optimal, outline means of identifying potential non-compliers and provide objective evidence to support the implementation of education strategies. The study tested a research design that can be replicated.