Refusal to Take Medications

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 Caregiver Training Part VII: Refusal to Take Medications





Stacey's grandmother refuses to take her medication. She asks repeatedly why she needs to take it. Stacey seeks advice as to what to do.



Subtitle Languages: French & Hungarian

Common response: Stacey approaches her grandmother with medication. Her grandmother challenges her with questions and Stacey responds with what the medication is for. Stacey explains the consequence of not taking the medication and becomes irritated. Stacey gives up when her grandmother again refuses.

Expert explanation: Refusal to take medications is a common manifestation of dementia. Since taking medications is often a daily occurrence, refusal can cause caregiver frustration. The recommended approach is to stay calm. In addition, trying to explain the consequences of not taking a medication may not be understood by persons with more advanced dementias.

Recommended response: Stacey approaches her grandmother in a gentle way and sits next to her on the couch. Her grandmother challenges her and she responds by reading a note from the doctor that her grandmother remembers and respects. Stacey reads it slowly and clearly so her grandmother can understand. She encourages her grandmother to take her medication for the doctor.

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The project described was supported by Grant Number 1C1CMS330982 from the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or any of its agencies. This project was funded, in part, by the Archstone Foundation.