A qualitative synthesis of pharmacist, other health professional and lay perspectives on the role of community pharmacy in facilitating care for people with long-term conditions

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Abstract

Background:

There is increasing interest in an enhanced role for community pharmacy (CP) in facilitating care for people with long-term conditions (LTCs). It is important to understand the perspectives of stakeholders in order to identify key issues that may impact on future development of the role and related services.

Objectives:

Explore pharmacist, other health professional and lay perspectives on the role of CP in facilitating care for people with LTCs.

Methods:

Synthesis of qualitative research from UK based studies published between 2007 and January 2017 using a meta-ethnographic interpretative approach.

Results:

Variation in the conceptualisation of the role of CP in facilitating the care of people with LTCs was apparent across and within lay and health professional accounts. Despite evidence of positive attitudes and a culture amenable to change, there remains a lack of clarity about the existing and potential role of the pharmacist in this area. A theoretical framework is proposed that highlights the dynamic nature of the process involved in the development of lay and health professionals' understanding of the role and engagement with services. Influences on this process include experience and perceived need, service operationalisation, and ongoing developments within wider healthcare policy and commercial environments. Perceived integration with existing professional and peer support structures, views about traditional medical hierarchies and concerns about potential duplication are important influences on the value attributed to the role of CP and the services provided.

Conclusions:

There is acknowledged potential for an extended role in CP to support the care of people with LTCs. To ensure the likelihood of successful engagement with patients and positive health outcomes, developments should acknowledge influences within and beyond the CP setting. Potential overlap with other healthcare services should be explicitly addressed, ensuring this is framed and delivered as valued reinforcement with clearly defined boundaries of responsibility.

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