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Research into sensory impairment & pharmaceutical care of older people – Scotland

The Scottish Sensory Hub at the Health and Social Care Alliance is collaborating with the University of Strathclyde on a research project focused on the improving the pharmaceutical care of older people with sensory loss.

The title of the study is SIPA2: Sensory Impairment and the Pharmaceutical Care of Older People and it is led by Dr Margaret Watson from the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS).

SIPA2 is focused on the experiences of older people (aged 65 years and over) in Scotland who use more than four medicines and have some form of visual and/or hearing loss.

The study is funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust and the research data will be used to understand the challenges experienced by older people with sensory loss and how to best improve their safe and effective use of medicines. At the end of the study, the research team will produce a catalogue of currently available products and services, product and service design guidelines, and an education resource for health and social care professionals.

Between now and December 2021, the University of Strathclyde research team is seeking older people with sensory loss across Scotland who are willing to share their everyday experiences and stories of managing their medicines.

Eligible participants will use smartphones, cameras and voice recorders to record how they order, collect, store, use and dispose of medicines in whatever format (audio or video recording, diary and/or images) they prefer.

Participants can use their own devices to create recordings or the research team can provide cameras, voice recorders and other accessible options. People who do not use technology regularly but have support available to create recordings and share these with the research team, are also encouraged to participate in the study.

These ‘observations’ will then be followed up by an interview with a University of Strathclyde researcher. Eligible participants will also be asked if they would like to nominate people involved in their medicine use such as family members and carers, as well as their GPs and pharmacists, to also participate in an interview so the research team can gather their perspectives and experiences. We will only have a small group of participants for this part of the study and we aim to include people with different abilities, age and gender and from different locations.

Depending on the number of people interested, the project might not be able to include everyone.  If you do not end up in the initial group, workshops will be held in Spring 2022 designed to co-create guidelines for the design and delivery of improved pharmaceutical care for older people with sensory loss. This will be a much larger group and we hope to have as many people participate as possible and share their perspectives.

Participants will be compensated for their time involved in the study and can always choose to opt out or withdraw from any part of the research at any time with no consequences as per ethical approval from the University of Strathclyde.

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in this study, you must be:

  • 65 and older
  • Experience some form of hearing and/or visual loss
  • Uses four or more medicines, or any high-risk medicine, and;
  • Live in Scotland

To find out more, please contact the research team at: or by calling 078 42 626 424 during business hours.

A researcher will then be in touch to discuss the study in more detail. If you require this information in a different communication style or format, please contact the research team. If you need assistance reaching the team, Contact Scotland is also available.