Impact of COVID-19 on frontline pharmacists’ roles and services around the world: the INSPIRE Worldwide Survey
- At: PPR 2022 (2022)
- Type: Poster
- By: AL HAMARNEH, Yazid (University Of Alberta)
- Co-author(s): Yazid Al Hamarneh, Scientific Officer, University Of Alberta, Canada
Dillon Lee, Resident
Kaitlyn Watson, Postdosctoral research fellow
OBJECTIVES: Evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on pharmacists’ roles and services around the world
METHODS: A cross-sectional online survey with pharmacists who provided direct patient care during the pandemic. Pharmacists were recruited through social media with assistance from national and international pharmacy organizations. The survey was divided into three sections 1) demographics, 2) pharmacists’ roles and services during the pandemic 3) practice challenges. The data were analyzed using SPSS 28, and descriptive statistics were used to report frequencies and percentages.
RESULTS: A total of 419 pharmacists practicing in 25 countries provided consent to participate. The most common role that pharmacists undertook was responding to drug information
requests (90%), followed by allaying patients' fears and anxieties about COVID-19 (82.6%), then addressing misinformation about COVID-19 treatments and vaccinations (80.4%), and educating the public on strategies to reduce COVID-19 transmission (e.g., handwashing) (80.2%). Despite the demands of the pandemic, pharmacists continued to provide clinical services regularly. Managing and/or monitoring patients’ chronic diseases was the most frequently provided service (72.6%), followed by treating ambulatory conditions (65.4%), then renewing/extending prescriptions (58%) and prescribing emergency supply refills (52.7%). Interestingly, almost half of the participants reported administering COVID-19 vaccines (45.6%). Pharmacists reported being involved in pandemic management through consultations, policy development and participating in taskforces. The most common challenge that pharmacists encountered was increased stress level (84.7%), followed by medication shortages (73.8%), general supply shortages (71.8%), inadequate staffing (69.2%), and concern for the safety of self and others (66.8%).
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the uncertainty, the massive pressure, and the constant need to adapt, pharmacists around the world continued to put the patient first, providing them with highest quality services and making sure that all their needs are met. Pharmacists are definitely the unsung heroes of pandemic and their actions should cement their place as an essential health service.