Building bridges between community pharmacy and psychosocial care: findings from a Flemish pilot project (CAVAsa)
- At: PPR 2022 (2022)
- Type: Poster
- Poster code: PM-22
- By: HUTSEBAUT, Caroline (KU Leuven)
- Co-author(s): Caroline Hutsebaut, Scientific Researcher, KU Leuven, Belgium
Eva Rens, Phd researcher
Janne Scheepers, Master Student
Aline Ghijselings, Researcher
Kris Van den Broeck, Professor
Veerle Foulon, Professor
Community pharmacists are increasingly consulted for healthcare advice and promotion beyond medication management. Because of their high accessibility and usually close relationship with their patients, community pharmacists may be in a good position to detect unmet psychosocial needs of their patients.
A Flemish study project CAVAsa investigated this idea and evaluated the added value and feasibility of pharmacists taking up a role in both detection and referral of patients with (unmet) mental and psychosocial needs. Therefore, a collaboration between community pharmacies and psychosocial organizations was set up and evaluated using quantitative and qualitative methods.
A total of 71 community pharmacists in Flanders (Belgium) were trained to detect a wide range of psychosocial needs (e.g., mental health problems, family problems, substance abuse…), to inform patients about possible help and to guide or refer them to appropriate care. Quantitative data were collected through an online registration form from October ’21 until January ’22 and qualitative data by focus groups held in November ’21.
In total, 79 patient contacts were registered in which psychosocial wellbeing was discussed. Patients were dominantly female and middle-aged, and the majority of patients’ needs related to family problems and/or mental health problems. The focus groups revealed that pharmacists are willing to take up this role because patient wellbeing and personal assistance are key values of community pharmacy. They felt confident in detecting and referring psychosocial vulnerable patients and appreciated the growing collaboration with social workers. However, high workload, lack of staff and privacy were important barriers in taking up this new role.
Despite the good position of the community pharmacist to detect psychosocial needs and the willingness of the participants, some barriers for implementation were raised during the first year. At this moment preparations are being made to promote the project for another year and include more pharmacists taking into account all lessons learned.