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Older Adults’ Concomitant Use of Alcohol and Medications


GSS faculty members Linda White-Ryan, Ph.D., and Janna Heyman, Ph.D. have just published research exploring the communication between older adults and their healthcare providers concerning the patients’ alcohol and medication use.

The study, titled “The invisible gap: Older adults’ communication with health care providers about concomitant use of alcohol and medications” was published in Gerontology & Geriatrics Education. 

“The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of a new educational intervention, Communicating with your Health Care Providers, which was designed to assist older adults in communicating with their physicians and other health care providers and improving their knowledge about concomitant alcohol and medication risks. A randomized control trial was conducted in older adult centers in an urban community. Participants were assigned to either the intervention group or a control group that received traditional services. The intervention group received educational material about health, physical and other aging changes, medication use and possible adverse interactions between alcohol and medications, as well as strategies to initiate communication with physicians and other health care providers. The outcomes measured were: (1) interest in communicating with physicians and health care providers; (2) perception of the importance of communication; and (3) knowledge about concomitant alcohol and medication use. MANCOVA tests indicated that the intervention group had greater knowledge about the risks of combining alcohol with prescription medications than the control group, as well as greater interest in having health care discussions with their physicians and other health care providers. These findings may be translated into future educational programming for community centers.”

Read the full study here. 


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