, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 587-595
Date: 06 Jun 2012

Simulated caregivers: their feasibility in educating pharmacy staff to manage children’s ailments

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Abstract

Background Community pharmacy staff play a crucial role in the management of common childhood ailments. Simulated patient studies have not yet explored the management of children’s cough/cold and fever, nor have many previous studies used simulated patient methods with focus on self-assessment as a training tool to shape future counselling behaviour. Objectives To assess and shape the counselling behavior of pharmacy staff when dealing with children’s cough/cold and fever; investigate influential factors of counselling behavior; and explore participant perceptions of simulated patient methods as a training tool, with particular emphasis on self-assessment. Setting Community pharmacies in the inner city region of metropolitan Sydney. Method Six simulated caregivers visited eight community pharmacies. After applying their scenario, the interaction was scored and immediate performance feedback was delivered in the form of self-assessment. Semi-structured interviews followed, focusing on participant perceptions of self-assessment. Main outcome measures Scores for each simulated patient interaction, and qualitative interviews responses from participants. Results The highest mean percentage score achieved was for the symptom based request for a cough/cold remedy in a five year old (48 ± 14.3 %), while the lowest was the direct product request equivalent (22 ± 8.5 %). Qualitative results showed that simulated patient visits were viewed positively and self-assessment was highly regarded. Conclusion Using simulated caregivers in pharmacy to assess and improve children’s cough/cold and fever management is feasible and acceptable. The opportunity to self-assess is particularly beneficial, allowing participants to demonstrate key psychology principles associated with behaviour change.