Background There is limited information in New Zealand about community pharmacists’ perceptions of services that benefit older people. Objectives To explore the perceptions of community pharmacists’ of services that benefit older people; the benefits perceived; and the experiences of pharmacists providing such services. Setting Community pharmacies in New Zealand. Methods A cross-sectional purpose-developed survey was carried out of all community pharmacies in New Zealand. This was followed by twenty qualitative telephone interviews of pharmacists identified as providing at least one specialized service. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded for themes using constant comparison. Main outcome measures Community pharmacists’ opinions and perceptions in the cross-sectional survey and qualitative interviews. Results Responses were received from pharmacists in 403/905 evaluable pharmacies. All pharmacies provided some baseline services (advice, dispensing of prescriptions, medicines disposal) and 90% provided home deliveries of medicines. Adherence to medicines was supported by compliance packaging (96%), medication review (Medicines Use Review, MUR) (28%), and repeat prescription reminders (27%). Thirty-five percent provided screening (e.g. cholesterol, blood pressure), and 32% provided medicines education to community groups. Compliance packaging and home delivery were thought the services most beneficial for older people, and should help people adhere to their medicines. The 20 pharmacists interviewed by telephone provided 20 different specialized services (median 2, range 1–4). These included MUR, services to residential homes, visiting educators/special clinics, INR monitoring, services to hospices, and flu vaccination. Benefits perceived included improvements in adherence, patient safety, and patient-knowledge of medicines, and convenient access to services. “Patient need” was a frequent driver of services, and common facilitators for services were having appropriate training/skills, co-operation with health professionals, peer or expert support, sufficient time and funding. A lack of these facilitators were considered barriers as were resistance from general practitioners or the general public, or high set-up costs. Conclusion Community pharmacists in New Zealand perceived they provide a range of services of potential benefit to older people for managing their medicines. Establishing new services requires cooperation from other health professionals, peer support, training, funding and time. Further research into patients’ outcomes from new and established services is needed.
Aged Community pharmacy services Elderly Interprofessional relations New Zealand Pharmacists Professional role Qualitative research Surveys
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We thank the pharmacists who participated in the survey and interviews for their willingness to participate and their time.
The study was funded by a grant from the Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand.
Conflicts of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
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