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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Rural seniors' medication access: The problem of structural health literacy in the San Luis Valley
by Shelton, Luisa Charlene, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Denver, 2015, 208; 3702086
Abstract (Summary)

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explain the major barriers to medication access in rural seniors. How seniors access their prescription medications and make choices access helps to explain what seniors consider to be major barriers. This project has five goals: (1) describe what barriers rural seniors perceive that hinder access to their medicines and thus interfere with adherence to prescribed medication regimens; (2) understand what seniors perceive to be facilitators to accessing their prescriptions; (3) learn how or if social support networks play a role in helping rural seniors make decisions about how to use their resources to get their medications; (4) define the process that rural seniors use to move from potential access — the desire to get their medications, to revealed access — the actual ability to get their medications; and (5) describe what health care providers believe are the barriers that rural seniors face to getting their medicines.

Methods: I interviewed 19 low-income seniors in five towns in the San Luis Valley using semi-structured interviews, along with one pharmacist from each of seven pharmacies. A card study was conducted in nine clinics of the Valley Wide and Rio Grande systems. The interviews were coded using the grounded theory method. The card study survey was administered to primary care providers in eight clinics to gauge understanding of elderly patients' potential for barriers to access of medications.

Results: The primary finding is that poor structural health literacy (SHL) is the major barrier to access of medications, and to healthcare access generally. SHL is a factor in the more widely discussed barriers such as cost and transportation.

Discussion: SHL increases the chances that seniors will have access to healthcare by helping seniors learn how to take advantage of programs that enhance their ability to afford medications. Public Health agencies must work with community leaders to ensure that seniors are aware of their options for accessing medications, including financial and transportation options.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Koester, Steve
Commitee: Duran-Aydintug, Candan, Foss, Sonja, Rooks, Ronica N.
School: University of Colorado at Denver
Department: Health and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-B 76/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Aging, Public health, Public policy, Health care management
Keywords: Health literacy, Healthcare access, Medication access, Rural eldery, San luis valley, Structurla health literacy
Publication Number: 3702086
ISBN: 978-1-321-73194-1
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