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Medication adherence has been emphasized as one of the integral parts in continuing care among post-acute coronary syndrome (post-ACS) persons. However, non-adherence remains a major problem. The purposes of this randomized controlled trial were to test the effects of nurse-led cardiac rehabilitation (NLCR) program on medication taking in post-ACS persons at 3 and 4 months post intervention. A 12-week program was developed based on Leventhal’s self-regulation model of health and illness cognition and evidence-based practice. It consisted of risk assessment, risk information, collaborative goal-setting, action planning, self-monitoring, self-evaluating and giving feedback as well as on-going support. Seventy-two participants who met the inclusion criteria were recruited and randomly assigned into the NLCR program (n=33) and the control group (n=39). The participants in the experimental group received the NLCR program; whereas, the control group received usual care.
Outcomes were medication taking behavior at 3 and 4 months post intervention. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Mann-Whitney U test.
Results revealed that the proportion of participants who took medication as prescribed in the NLCR program group was higher reported than those in the control group, both at 3 and 4 months post intervention. However, there were no significant differences in proportion of participants who took medication as prescribed between the NLCR program and the control group at 3-month follow-up (Z = -1.509, p = .13). Meanwhile, significant differences in medication taking was shown at 4-month follow-up (Z = -2.219, p = .03). The results suggest that the program is useful to promote medication adherence, especially to control risk factors and prevent further disease progression. Longitudinal study is recommended for future studies.
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