Monthly Publication Highlight - Dr. Kimberly Plake

Dr. Kimberly Plake photo

March 21, 2017 - The Purdue College of Pharmacy is pleased to honor and recognize the outstanding research and scholarship generated by our faculty each month. This month we highlight Dr. Kimberly Plake, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice. Dr. Plake’s recent publication, “The association between family caregivers’ involvement in managing older adults’ medications and caregivers’ information-seeking behavior”, can be read in Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (January 11, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.japh.2016.12.061).

The publication’s primary author and main study investigator is Dr. Marwa Noureldin (PharmD 2009, PhD 2015), Dr. Plake’s graduate student at the time of this work. The article encompasses the focus of her dissertation and her core research interest. Other contributors include Drs. Holly Mason, Matthew Murawski, and Gerald Hyner. The study’s aims were to: 1) explore associations between family caregivers’ information seeking with their involvement in providing medication assistance to care recipients, and 2) to identify the sources of information caregivers use. Two national datasets (National Health and Aging Trends and National Study of Caregiving) were utilized to address the study’s objectives. Of the caregivers participating, 54% reported assisting their care recipient with keeping track of their medications while 8.7% helped with injectable medications. Adult children were more likely to seek information. Caregivers assisting in tracking medications had two-fold higher odds of seeking information to help their care-recipients. Results suggest specific caregiver responsibilities related to medication management are associated with information seeking. Healthcare professionals can play a role in providing this information to caregivers, as well as helping them to identify appropriate information resources.

“Caregivers are often the forgotten ones in the healthcare system,” says Dr. Plake. “The focus of healthcare professionals is on patients, but informal caregivers, such as spouses and children, often are providing daily care to those patients and may need assistance in various responsibilities, including medication management. This project serves as a first step to help identify those caregivers that may be in most need for education and training so that they can better care for their loved ones.”


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