The role of community pharmacists in the prevention and management of osteoporosis and the risk of falls: results of a cross-sectional study and qualitative interviews
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In a mailed survey and qualitative interviews, it was observed that community pharmacists and public health authorities believe that pharmacists should play a significant role in the prevention and management of osteoporosis and the risk of falls. However, pharmacists acknowledge a wide gap between their ideal and actual levels of involvement.
The aim of this study was to explore perceptions of community pharmacists and public health authorities regarding the role of pharmacists in providing services in relation to osteoporosis and risk of falls and the barriers to providing them.
Using a modified five-step version of Dillman’s tailored design method, a questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of 1,250 community pharmacists practicing in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) and surrounding areas. A similar questionnaire was sent to public health officers in these regions. Additionally, telephone interviews were conducted with regional and ministry level public health officers.
Of the 1,250 pharmacists contacted, 28 were ineligible. In all, 571 of 1,222 (46.7 %) eligible community pharmacists and all the public health officers returned the questionnaire. Six public health officers (five regional and one at ministry level) were interviewed. Most pharmacists believed they should be involved in screening for osteoporosis (46.6 %) and risk of falls (50.3 %); however, fewer reported actually being involved in such services (17.4 % and 19.2 %, respectively). In their view, the main barriers to providing these services in current practice were lack of time (78.8 %), lack of clinical tools (65.4 %), and lack of coordination with other healthcare professionals (54.5 %). Public health authorities also thought community pharmacists should play a significant role in providing osteoporosis and fall risk services. However, few community pharmacist-mediated activities are in place in the participating regions.
Although community pharmacists and public health authorities believe pharmacists should play a significant role with regard to osteoporosis and the risk of falls, they acknowledge a wide gap between the ideal and actual levels of pharmacist involvement.
KeywordsCommunity pharmacy Cross-sectional study Osteoporosis Qualitative study Risk of falls
MCL is supported by a doctoral research award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in partnership with Osteoporosis Canada. LL and SP are research scholars who receive financial support from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec—Santé. We thank all participants who responded to the questionnaire and took part in the interviews.
Réseau québécois de recherche sur l’usage des médicaments (RQRUM) and Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Laval
Conflicts of interest
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