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Addressing the Polypharmacy Challenge in Older People

The Polypharmacy Challenge Blog

Living with Polypharmacy - part 2

The second session of our Living with Polypharmacy panel at the Chronic Living: quality, vitality and health in the 21st Century conference continued with presentations using a variety of methods to make the work of polypharmacy visible.

I presented data from Video Reflexive Ethnography (VRE) workshops with GPs to show a hidden side of medicines talk focusing on the emotions primary care staff feel when faced with stopping or starting a patient's medicines. The VRE method invites professionals to view and reflect on video clips of their practice. One emotion featured heavily in professional talk: fear. Particular drugs were entangled with fear concerning how the drug works, harmful side effects it may cause, the patient’s history with the drug, the clinician’s past encounters with the drug, and future prescribing trends which reach media and public attention. The entanglement of emotional work in prescribing raises questions about interventions to reduce polypharmacy which rely solely on one kind of knowledge: scientific evidence and clinical safety.


Two fantastic PhD opportunities

We are currently advertising two PhD Studentships which link to and extend our current work on polypharmacy (co-prescription of five or more medicines) and multimorbidity (presence of two or more ongoing medical conditions). One takes a socio-historical approach to investigating the phenomenon, the other focuses on polypharmacy in working age adults.


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