Family caregivers also need care. And now researchers from Japan have found that their experiences with healthcare professionals while caring for another person influence their own healthcare decisions.
In a recently published study in Research in social and administrative pharmacyResearchers from Tsukuba University found that nurses are more likely to take charge of personal care through self-medication, especially when their interactions with professionals are less positive.
The research team examined the self-medication habits of family caregivers and statistically linked them to the results of a questionnaire about their experiences with interprofessional healthcare. This form of healthcare, which is being further developed in Japan, offers a comprehensive approach involving doctors and nurses as well as therapists and care managers: essentially all professionals involved in the delivery of care. Caregivers are, of course, witnesses and participate in the care. The study found that this can influence one’s own choice of medication.
Community-dwelling adult patients and caregivers in Japan interact with a range of healthcare professionals, but take care of the balance themselves between prescribed medications, OTC, dietary supplements, etc. This means they need to have good interactions with these professionals to get the best To ensure trust and optimal support. We surveyed care providers of patients with chronic conditions and found that 34.4% of them self-medicate, but those who have had positive experiences with interprofessional care are less likely to do so.”
Professor Shoichi Masumoto, lead author of the study
The study participants were between 40 and 74 years old and lived in an area approximately 100 km (~62 miles) northeast of central Tokyo. All cared for a person who had had long-term care insurance for at least 1 year. These caregivers answered questions about their use of non-prescription medications—including OTC drugs and dietary supplements—over the past 2 weeks. They then answered a questionnaire about their experiences with healthcare professionals and their personal care. The research team analyzed the data for relationships and found higher levels of self-medication among those who reported less desirable experiences with healthcare professionals.
“Interprofessional healthcare providers must not only care about the health of their patients,” says Professor Masumoto, “they must monitor the health of patients’ caregivers and provide appropriate guidance on self-medication.”
With the general aging of the population and the increasing number of caregivers, the health and support of caregivers are becoming increasingly important. Because their experiences of interprofessional healthcare can directly influence their medical decisions and actions, healthcare professionals should be smarter and more passionate about interacting with them. Further studies may include other groups of nurses, such as e.g. younger and older nurses, in order to achieve optimal care for both nurses and patients.
This study was funded by the OTC Self-Medication Promotion Foundation, Japan (grant number R2-3A-002).
Masumoto, S., et al. (2023) Association between interprofessional care experience and self-medication in family caregivers: A cross-sectional study. Research in social and administrative pharmacy. doi.org/10.1016/j.sapharm.2023.01.005.