The United States correctional system is a vital treatment source for chronic illnesses. Whether treating a chronic mental or physical illness, correctional healthcare requires effective resource utilization. Limited research exists on pharmacists' ability to directly address inmate medication adherence. Thus, this study explores inmate perception of medication adherence and management as part of their treatment plan. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with inmates throughout Connecticut. Diseases of interest were divided into a physical illness group (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, HIV/AIDS) and a mental illness group (depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse). A content analysis was conducted on four questions: 1) Do you take your medications as prescribed, and why? 2) How do you feel about taking medication for your illness? 3) Are you experiencing any problems or side effects due to your medications and how do you handle this? and 4) Have there been any changes to your medications and how was this process handled?
Interviews were conducted between January and December 2015 with 23 male inmates (n= 7 in prison; n=16 in halfway houses). A total of 6 inmates reported non-adherence, 17 reported adherence, 7 had a physical illness, and 16 had a mental illness. A total of 16 themes were identified through the four questions.
Overall, the pharmacist's medication knowledge and availability allow for medication management and support of inmate medication adherence. Inpatient, pharmacists are suited to perform comprehensive medication therapy management for the psychiatric population and other chronic illnesses. Outpatient, the community pharmacist is poised to supply medication information and guidance to transitioning inmates.
Financial support for this study was provided by the KA Nieforth Pharmacy Student Research Award, Kaiko / Li Honors Research Award, and the University of Connecticut Faculty Award.
Bosco, Elliott and Shelton, Deborah
"From Prison to the Community: Opportunities for Pharmacists to Support Inmate Medication Adherence,"
Journal for Evidence-based Practice in Correctional Health: Vol. 2
, Article 1.
Available at: https://opencommons.uconn.edu/jepch/vol2/iss1/1