Management of hypertension in an Australian community pharmacy setting – patients' beliefs and perspectives

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Journal Article
International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 2017, 25 (4), pp. 263 - 273
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© 2016 Royal Pharmaceutical Society Objective: To explore patients' perspectives and experiences following a trial of a pharmacist-led service in hypertension management. Methods: A qualitative study comprising individual interviews was conducted. Patients of a community pharmacy, where a pharmacist-led hypertension management service had been trialled in selected metropolitan regions in Sydney (Australia), were recruited to the study. Emergent themes describing patients' experiences and perspectives on the service were elicited via thematic analysis (using manual inductive coding). Key findings: Patients' (N = 18) experiences of the service were extremely positive, especially around pharmacists' monitoring of blood pressure and provision of advice about medication adherence. Patients' participation in the service was based on their trust in, and relationship with, their pharmacist. The perception of working in a ‘team' was conveyed through the pharmacist's caring style of communication and the relaxed atmosphere of the community pharmacy. Patients felt that the community pharmacy was an obvious place for such a service because of their regular contact with the pharmacist, but was limited because the pharmacists were not able to prescribe medication. Conclusion: Patients were extremely positive about the role of, and their experience of, the pharmacy-based hypertension management service. Factors contributing to the patients' positive experiences provide important insights for community pharmacy practice. Good rapport with the pharmacist and a long-term relationship underpin patient engagement in such services. Restrictions on the pharmacists' scope of practice prevent their expertise, and the benefits of their accessibility as a primary point of contact, from being fully realised.
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