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Assessing the Effect of a Polypharmacy Medication Adherence Simulation Project in a Geriatrics Course in a College of Pharmacy


Address correspondence to Holly S. Divine, University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, 725 Rose Street, Lexington, KY 40536. E-mail:


The Geriatric Pharmacy elective course at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy uses a simulated medication adherence project to increase awareness of adherence concerns facing older adults who take multiple medications. This study evaluated the effect of this project. Students enrolled in this 3–credit hour course in 2002 to 2007 participated in the 10-day project followed by a live classroom discussion and a reflective assignment. Evaluations of the project were administered to the students on Blackboard. Two hundred thirty-seven health professional students (99% pharmacy) participated in the course project. Open-ended comments in the evaluations and reflective assignments were retrospectively analyzed using a qualitative research method known as thematic analysis. The majority (83%) of comments were positive. Students indicated the greatest learning experiences in the categories of empathy and adherence. This simulated medication adherence project is one tool that may be used to increase students' awareness of the difficulties with medication adherence that their patients may encounter.