Household medication practices and medication safety of people who are “cocooning” during the Covid-19 pandemic: a descriptive qualitative study.

Name of Study


Household medication practices and medication safety of people who are “cocooning” during the Covid-19 pandemic: a descriptive qualitative study.


Purpose of Study


Those who are staying at home and reducing contact with other people during the Covid-19 pandemic are likely at greater risk of medication-related problems than the general population due to older age, medical vulnerability and changes in household mobility, wellbeing and support structures.


This study aims to explore household medication practices by and for this population, identify practices that benefit or jeopardise medication safety and develop a patient-centred framework of medication practices, grounded in individual experiences.


This is a descriptive qualitative study using one-to-one semi-structured interviews, by telephone or video call, with optional research participant diary keeping. People who are self-isolating and staying at home as much as possible and/or aged 70 years or over, and using at least one long-term medication, or their caregivers, will be eligible for inclusion.


We will recruit 100 patient/ carer participants, 50 from England and 50 from the Republic of Ireland. Recruitment will be supported by our patient and public involvement partners, personal networks and social media. Individual participant consent will be sought, and interviews will be audio/video recorded and detailed notes made.


A constructivist interpretivist approach to data analysis will involve use of the constant comparative method to organise the data, along with inductive analysis. Sociotechnical assessment approaches using a Safety I/II perspective and the medication work framework will serve as sensitising concepts to support the iterative development of our person-centred medication practice safety framework.


This study has been approved by the Research Ethics Committees at Trinity College Dublin (Covid-19 2020502), University of Limerick (2020_06_08_EHS) and University College London (18417.001). We plan to disseminate our findings via presentations at relevant patient/public, professional, academic and scientific meetings and conferences, and for publication in peer-reviewed journals. We will create a list of helpful strategies that participants have reported and share with participants, PPI partners and on social media.




Type of Study (observational/exploratory etc.)


A descriptive qualitative study.


Are you recruiting participants for this trial?




Geographical location of study 


Virtual – interviews by telephone or video call


Who can take part?

Adults will be eligible to participate if: 1. They experience a medical vulnerability listed on the government public health advice as requiring protection against coronavirus infection, or are aged 70 years or more and 2. They have been advised to shield or cocoon during the Covid-19 pandemic and 3. They use at least one long-term medication. Or • They assist in the medication management of an adult who fulfils the above criteria.


What will the participants be asked to do?



If you decide to take part in this study, there are four relevant activities:

1. Give consent to participate in the study.
2. Contact with a member of our research team to explain the research and schedule an interview date and time.
3. Optional diary keeping for a one-week period, or as much as you can manage.
4. An interview, by telephone or video call, lasting less than 45 minutes.


If you decide to participate in this study, we will ask you to sign a consent form as evidence that you provide permission for this. You may also give consent verbally.
Initial contact
All contact with our research team will occur remotely (by email, telephone or video call). We don’t need to meet in person. A member of our research team will contact you to explain the research and schedule the one-week diary keeping period and the interview date and time.

Diary Keeping

We will invite you to keep an optional diary for one week. We would like you to try to make a diary entry every time you do anything with a medicine. However, there is no set expectation and we value every diary entry you make. In the diary, we would like you to capture notes about your use of medication, either for yourself, or for the person to whom you provide care.



Soon after the one-week diary keeping period, a member of the research team will conduct the interview at the pre-agreed date and time. We will ask questions about your medication use, for yourself or for the person(s) to whom you provide care. We will refer to the diary notes and use these to help the discussion. With your permission, we will audio record the interview and take notes.

The type of questions we will ask during the interview are:
• How did you get on using your medication before Covid-19?
• How are you getting on with using medicines since cocooning started?
• Have you faced any challenges taking or using medicines since cocooning?



Recruitment Start Date




Recruitment Finish Date




Study Duration

6 months



This study is funded by:

This work is mainly unfunded and being undertaken within the research team’s available resource. We received a small grant from the Health Research Institute, University of Limerick, to support data management costs.


For further information contact:


Dr Tamasine Grimes, Associate Professor in Pharmacy Practice, Trinity College Dublin




01 8962805




[email protected]


Ethical Approval & Relevant Documents & Logo’s

CovidMS Interview Recruitment Letter v2