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Impact of Illness and medications beliefs on medication adherence in refugees with hypertension

  • At: PPR SIG 2021 (2021)
  • Type: Digital
  • By: SHAHIN, Wejdan (Health and biomedical Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, Australia)
  • Co-author(s): Wejdan Shahin. Ieva Stupans. Gerard Kennedy.
  • Abstract:


    Medication non-adherence is one of the leading problems in enabling good healthcare outcomes in patients with hypertension — resulting in complications, and potentially death. It is considered as a significant problem that requires interventions, especially for vulnerable patients such as refugees who are more susceptible to poor adherence than other patients in the host country because of their poor socioeconomic status, education, employment, and language barriers. All these factors have been outlined in the literature to influence medication adherence negatively. However, factors including refugees’ beliefs, attitudes and behaviours towards hypertension, culture, and prescribed medications have not been addressed before in the literature.


    We aimed to evaluate refugees’ and migrants’ beliefs about medication, hypertension and culture and the impact of these beliefs on medication adherence. Additionally, we evaluated the differences between refugees and migrants’ beliefs and medication adherence.


    We recruited 311 participants who identified themselves as Middle Eastern refugees and migrants who live in Australia. All participants completed a survey that links illness perceptions, medication beliefs and medication adherence questionnaires.


    In this study, we found that refugees had suboptimal level of adherence in comparison to migrants who come from the same background. This difference was attributed to the following, refugees attributed their hypertension to supernatural beliefs, and believed that the illness would last for only a short period of time. In addition, refugees reported high concern around the side effects of medications which exceeded their perceptions of the benefits of taking them.


    Pharmacists may be the last healthcare providers refugees interact with before deciding to take their medications or not. Therefore, it is important that pharmacists develop targeted strategies and interventions to understand refugees’ beliefs about their illness, medications and culture and how these beliefs may impact refugees’ adherence to their prescribed medications to improve their overall adherence and therefore health.

Last update 4 October 2019

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