The author surveyed the population of a state hospital (N = 281) to
ascertain the level of knowledge patients had about their medication.
Approximately 8% of the patients correctly indicated the name of at least
one medication they were taking, its dosage schedule, and its intended
effect; approximately 54% of the patients evidenced no understanding of the
medication they were regularly taking. Significant differences in
understanding of medication were found as a function of diagnosis, age, and
length of stay. The finding that few patients were knowledgeable about
their medication raises doubts about recent court rulings on patients'
competency to refuse medication.