It is a challenge for rural health professionals to promote medication safety among older adults taking multiple medications. A volunteer coaching program to promote medication safety among rural elders with chronic illnesses was designed and evaluated. A community-based interventional study randomly assigned 62 rural elders with at least two chronic illnesses to routine care plus volunteer coaching or routine care alone. The volunteer coaching group received a medication safety program, including a coach and reminders by well-trained volunteers, as well as three home visits and five telephone calls over a two-month period. All the subjects received routine medication safety instructions for their chronic illnesses. The program was evaluated using pre- and post-tests of knowledge, attitude and behaviors with regard to medication safety. Results show the volunteer coaching group improved their knowledge of medication safety, but there was no change in attitude after the two-month study period. Moreover, the group demonstrated three improved medication safety behaviors compared to the routine care group. The volunteer coaching program and instructions with pictorial aids can provide a reference for community health professionals who wish to improve the medication safety of chronically ill elders.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes