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5 hand–eye functions relevant in predicting easy, accurate tablet subdivision in older people

09 Oct 2020

A test battery has been recently developed to assess hand–eye functions that are essential in determining easy and accurate tablet subdivision, which is crucial to the good use of medicines among older people and potentially among all age groups, reports a study.

“Tablets may be subdivided for dose adaptations or to ease swallowing. The handling is common in older patients but can be difficult and inaccurate,” the authors said. “Currently, it is not known which hand–eye functions determine the ability of older people to break tablets by hand and to do so with acceptable ease and accuracy.”

This mixed-methods study, which included literature reviews and a pilot experiment, was conducted to address such issue. The reviews were carried out using PubMed, Google Scholar, Dutch journals, and professional standards. The first review tried to identify the hand–eye functions relevant to tablet subdivision and the second looked at the related measuring instruments, testing protocols, and normative data.

A test battery was empaneled, and a pilot experiment was conducted involving 30 adult volunteers to improve and assess the test battery.

The authors considered five domains to be relevant: hand size, hand strength, flexibility/manual dexterity, vision, and coordination. Hand size was best measured by finger circumference, hand strength by pinch- and grip strength, flexibility by active range of joint motion, manual dexterity (and flexibility, coordination, cognition, vision) by pegboard function, and vision by near visual acuity.

Notably, older people preferred using tablet splitters over hand breaking.

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