Recently, a well educated and intelligent family member of mine was discharged from the hospital with a list of about a half dozen or so medications of which about half of them were knew. He had a list of the medications that was appropriately written out on discharge instructions and the writing was very clear and legible. He took the list of medications to the pharmacy to get them all filled and when he picks them up he was shocked to find a bunch of different medicines than were on his list.
Instead of receiving Plavix, Lipitor, and Colace he received clopidegrel, atorvastatin, and docusate! Fortunately, I was around to point out that he did receive the appropriate medications and rewrote the instructions using the new names that were on the medication bottle.
Something as simple as this just goes to show how we contribute to patient frustrations and nonadherence to treatment plans. If this family member had difficulties with just a handful of medications, what must it be like for the less educated patient who has a list of fifteen to twenty medications and no doctor or nurse around to help clarify what is what?