Patients' experience of hospital pharmaceutical services

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Abstract

Objective

This study aimed to investigate inpatients' and outpatients' need for information about medication, to what extent those needs were addressed and patient attitudes regarding pharmaceutical services.

Method

Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to a sample of outpatients and inpatients in a UK district general hospital. Themes included satisfaction with information given about medication, potential confusion over medication prescribed by the general practitioner and by the hospital, access to a member of the pharmacy team and preferences on how information on medication should be given.

Key findings

Ninety-one outpatient and 126 inpatient questionnaires were available for analysis. All outpatients who responded acknowledged that they were told how long they might need to wait for their medicines to be dispensed, although approximately one-fifth felt they had to wait a long time. Nearly three-quarters of outpatients felt there was an opportunity to ask medication-related questions of the pharmacy team. Nearly three-quarters of inpatients reported they were encouraged to bring into any hospital any medication they were taking at home. Twenty-eight per cent of 95 inpatients reported that some of their existing medication was stopped while in hospital. For the inpatients who received information about new medication, this was explained to the patient verbally (76%) and both verbally and in writing (22%). Forty-two per cent of inpatients (and 36% of outpatients) expressed a preference to receive information about medication both verbally and in writing. Thirty-five (32%) of 110 inpatients were not aware that a pharmacy team had a presence on the ward.

Conclusions

Overall the majority of both in- and outpatients appeared to be receiving appropriate pharmaceutical services. There is a need to raise the profile of the pharmacy team in regards to provision of medication advice for inpatients. Consideration needs to be given to better provision of written information about medication for patients.

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