Older people in the field of medication

Authors

  • Kirsi Lumme-Sandt,

    Corresponding author
    1.  School of Public Health, University of Tampere, Finland
    2.  Tampere University Hospital, Dept of Pharmacy, Finland
      Address for correspondence: Kirsi Lumme-Sandt, School of Public Health, University of Tampere, FIN-33014 Finland e-mail: kirsi.lumme-sandt@uta.fi
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  • Pekka Virtanen

    1.  Medical School, University of Tampere, Finland
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Address for correspondence: Kirsi Lumme-Sandt, School of Public Health, University of Tampere, FIN-33014 Finland e-mail: kirsi.lumme-sandt@uta.fi

Abstract

This paper focuses on how older people construct themselves as users of medical drugs, and on what factors are important in medication from the user’s point of view. The data of the study consist of focus group discussions about medication with people aged over 65 years. The analysis was based upon Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of social field and habitus. The main actors appearing in the discussions were users and doctors. Pharmacists had only a marginal role as suppliers of medical drugs. It was clearly important for the participants to express their appreciation towards doctors, the dominant actors in the field of medication. The most important theme in the discussions, however, was the independence of the users themselves. By assuming responsibility for the use of their medication and by applying their own initiative, these older people were able to gain a meaningful position in the field of medication. The habitus of a patient in the health care setting is a compliant patient. The habitus outside health care, on the other hand, requires that people are active and reasonable users. In individual practices it is possible to detect logics of both sides of habitus.

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