What do persons with diabetes want from community pharmacies? A qualitative study

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Keywords

COVID-19, Vaccination, Side effects

Abstract

Background: Diabetes is a demanding disease with a complex treatment regimen. Many persons with diabetes have difficulty managing their disease and taking medication as prescribed, possibly because they lack knowledge and sometimes misinterpret medical benefits. Community pharmacies continuously provide professional counselling to persons with diabetes. Objective: This study aimed to explore 1) which services adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes want from community pharmacies and 2) how pharmacies can meet these wishes. Methods: A qualitative, explorative study design using focus group interviews was chosen. Informants were recruited from Region Zealand in Denmark. Data were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed by means of thematic analysis. Results: Thirteen adults (11 female) with the mean age of 66.2 years (range 49–81 years) participated in one physical (n=6) or one online (n=7) focus group interview. Ten had type 2 diabetes, three had type 1 diabetes. The average duration of participants’ diabetes was 13.4 years (range 2.3–33.0 years). The analysis revealed three overall themes of the functions which the informants would like community pharmacies to fulfil: 1) raise awareness of pharmacies’ counselling service and competences; 2) act as a dialogue partner; 3) be a source of information and guidance about local activities and support. Conclusion: The informants did not regard community pharmacies as a natural part of the healthcare system or as a place where they would expect counselling. They would like the community pharmacy to make their medical competences and services obvious and the community pharmacy staff to act as a dialogue partner and provide competent counselling. The informants would like to have a contact person with diabetes competences with whom they can book an appointment to complement over-the-counter counselling. They experience a gap in their care between routine visits in the healthcare system and suggest that community pharmacies counselling services become a natural supplement and that healthcare professionals in the primary and secondary sectors inform patients about the services - especially for patients newly diagnosed with diabetes. Finally, they would like a formal collaboration between diabetes associations and community pharmacies to make their competences, services and information visible.

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