Influence of executive function on medication adherence in neurologically impaired and non-impaired elderly.
Description: Medication non-compliance has become one of the most prevalent reasons for hospitalization and doctor's visits by the elderly. As the elderly population is more likely to have decreased cognitive abilities, it is suggested that neuropsychological factors, especially executive function, are more influential in medication non-compliance than once thought. This study looked at executive function performance on a traditional battery of neuropsychological tests, self-report of perceived ability to perform executive function tasks, and the newly developed Pillbox Test, a performance based IADL measure. The Pillbox Test is designed to replicate a type of medication-management specific IADL as a means to asses executive function. Standard executive function measures only tap a portion of executive function, but it is believed that the Pillbox Test incorporates all four theoretical domains of executive function. The multiple measures of executive function performance were compared in three prevalent subgroups of the elderly population (mixed neurological group, cardiac medical-control group, and healthy community-control group). Results found significant differences, where the community-control and cardiac groups outperformed the mixed neurological group on the large majority of executive function tasks. Smaller differences were also noted between the community-control and cardiac groups and between the cardiac and mixed neurological groups. Together, these findings provide support for the diagnostic prevalence of mild cognitive impairment in the older adult cardiac population. Results also indicated the level of executive dysfunction on standardized neuropsychological measures was highly correlated with performance on both the Pillbox Test and the IADL based Direct Assessment of Functional Status measure. Finally, the Pillbox Test has moderate to strong ecological validity with 75% sensitivity and 87.5% specificity for five or more errors on this test.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Zartman, Andrea Leigh