Medicines education at home : A case study in Finland
Hokkanen, Johanna; Elorinne, Anna Liisa; Hämeen-Anttila, Katri; Keinonen, Tuula (2017)
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Elorinne, Anna Liisa
Health Education Journal : 8
Background: Educating children about medicines and medicine use is part of health education and is often seen as parents’ responsibility. However, to date, little research has been conducted on medicines education as provided in the home. Objective: To explore (1) parents’ attitudes towards medicines, (2) medicines education practices in the home and (3) the interaction in medicines education between the home and at school. Design: Mixed-methods case study. Setting: Pupils and their parents in one comprehensive school in Finland. Method: Before an educational intervention with Year 4 (aged 10–11 years) and Year 7 (aged 13–14 years) students, parents completed a background survey concerning their perceptions, beliefs and knowledge of medicines (n = 250). Following the intervention, interviews with 12 mothers and 12 children, and medicine cabinet studies (n = 10) were conducted. Quantitative data were analysed using K-mean cluster analysis to see whether respondents could be divided into different clusters based on their attitudes towards medicines. Qualitative data were analysed using theory-guided content analysis to obtain a picture of home medicines education. Results: Participants, mostly mothers, were divided into different types of medicine educators, whose attitudes towards medicines were either positive or neutral. Medicine consumption practices varied between families, but medicines were usually discussed when the child, a family member, a relative or a friend had a long-term illness; when a family member was suffering from a sickness; and while taking a medicine. In general, interaction between the home and the school was rather limited. Conclusion: The majority of mothers exhibited a strong reliance on public systems of health care. Greater interaction between schools and the home is needed in Finnish medicines education.
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