The experiences and beliefs of older people in Scottish very sheltered housing about using multi‑compartment compliance aids

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Derek Stewart
  • Kathrine Gibson Smith
  • Joan MacLeod
  • Alison Strath
  • Katrina Forbes-McKay
  • Scott Cunningham
  • Katie MacLure

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • NHS Grampian
  • Robert Gordon University


Background: Multi-compartment compliance aids (MCAs) are promoted as a potential solution to medicines non-adherence despite the absence of high quality evidence of effectiveness of MCA use impacting medicines adherence or any clinical outcomes. Furthermore, there is a lack of qualitative research which focuses on the perspectives of older people receiving MCAs. 

Objectives: To describe experiences and beliefs surrounding very sheltered housing (VSH) residents’ use of MCAs with emphasis on issues of personalisation, reablement, shared decision-making, independence and support. 

Setting: VSH in north east Scotland. 

Methods: Qualitative, face-to-face interviews with 20 residents (≥ 65 years, using MCA > 6 months) in three VSH complexes. Interviews focused on: when and why the MCA was first introduced; who was involved in making that decision; how the MCA was used; perceptions of benefit; and any difficulties encountered. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed using a framework approach. 

Main outcome measure: Experiences and beliefs surrounding use of MCAs. 

Results: Nine themes were identified: shared decision-making; independence; knowledge and awareness of why MCA had been commenced; support in medicines taking; knowledge and awareness of medicines; competent and capable to manage medicines; social aspects of carers supporting MCA use; benefits of MCAs; and drawbacks. 

Conclusion: Experiences and beliefs are diverse and highly individual, with themes identified aligning to key strategies and policies of the Scottish Government, and other developed countries around the world, specifically personalisation shared decision making,independence, reablement and support.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-402
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • ageing , behavioural medicine , geriatrics , patient adherence , patient education , primary care , Scotland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

Sustainable Development Goals