Exploring caregiver understanding of medications immediately after a pediatric primary care visit

Barbara W. Bayldon*, Mariana Glusman, Nicole M. Fortuna, Adolfo J. Ariza, Helen J. Binns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: Assess accuracy of caregiver understanding of children's prescribed medications and examine factors associated with accurate recall. Methods: Cross-sectional, observational study of English- or Spanish-speaking caregivers of primary care patients aged 0-7 years. Child and visit characteristics and caregiver health literacy (Short Test of Health Literacy in Adults) were assessed. Post-visit, caregivers completed questionnaires on medications prescribed. Caregiver and medical record agreement on medication name and administration (dose and frequency) were examined using chi square and logistic regression. Results: Analyses included 68 caregivers (28% low health literacy); 96% of children had public insurance. Caregivers indicated that the doctor provided clear medication information (100%) and they could follow instructions (98%). 101 medicines were prescribed; 6 were recalled by caregiver only. 71% of medications were accurately named; 37% of administration instructions were accurately recalled. Accurate naming was more often found for patients 3-7 years, without conditions requiring repeat visits, and new medications. Accurate administration responses were associated with having only 1 child at the visit. Conclusion: Unperceived medication instruction understanding gaps exist at physician visits for caregivers of all literacy levels. Communication and care delivery practices need further evaluation. Practice implications: Clinicians should be aware of the frequency of caregiver medication misunderstanding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-260
Number of pages6
JournalPatient education and counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Health literacy
  • Medication
  • Practice-based research
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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