MEdication Management in Older people: REalist Approaches BAsed on Literature and Evaluation (MEMORABLE)


MEMORABLE aims to improve the way older people are able to manage their medications. These are people who are at living at home and have several diagnoses that involve taking a lot of different pills. 

We are doing this by looking at what has been written about medication management. We are also talking to older people, family carers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and social care staff to understand their day-to-day experiences and what they think would make managing medications better and easier. We will then know more about what works and how. Based on this, we will then make recommendations about how medication management might be improved.

This is a complex issue. It is important to understand what is happening, how and why. For these reasons, MEMORABLE is using realist methodology, and particularly realist synthesis.

MEMORABLE is running from May 2017 to December 2018.


The research is funded by the NIHR: Health Services and Delivery Research (15/137/01).

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The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

Research information and background

We know that dealing with lots of tablets makes managing them more difficult and that many people forget or choose not to take them for a number of different reasons. We also know that poor medication management can limit the benefits from the pills people are taking and wastes money. This is a problem for the people involved and the NHS.

Because medication management is an important issue, MEMORABLE is funded by the NHS National Institute of Health Research. To make sure it is being carried out properly, it has been approved by national and local ethics committees.

The study may not directly benefit the people who take part. However, people who do take part in projects like this often benefit from sharing examples of what has worked for them and improvements they feel will make a difference. We believe the findings from MEMORABLE will improve medication management for and with older people in the longer term. 

MEMORABLE uses realist synthesis, a novel research technique, to understand works for who, how, under what circumstances and with what effects to optimise medication management. This is the first time worldwide that it has been used for this key clinical issue. By using it to develop theories based on our understanding of how medication management works, we aim to develop an evidence-based intervention to improve medication management. Interviews with older people, carers and practitioners will help us learn directly about their experiences in medication management. Bringing these two types of evidence together will enable us to develop an intervention to improve medication management. We anticipate this will be an evidence-based framework. To ensure these theories are appropriate and practicable and that the intervention is likely to work, we will present our ideas to a group of people with experience and expertise in this field on a regular basis; the Stakeholder Group.

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