The Role of the Pharmacist in the Provision of Palliative Care

Project Details
Project ID: 2007/08-06
Type: Commissioned
Status: Completed
Institution: Curtin University of Technology
Chief Investigator: Professor Moyez Jiwa

Project Summary

Most people with chronic, complex and life-threatening conditions would prefer to die at home, rather than in hospital and this calls for an effective community based palliative care service. This study compromised of four stages: a review of the literature; focus groups with multiple stakeholder groups; a national survey of community pharmacists including development of an interactive on-line teaching resource (Palliative Care Pharmacy Portal- PCPP) and a feasibility trial in which pharmacists delivered an extended medication management review service for patients in palliative care (PCMMR).

The findings suggest that the benefits of the involvement of the community pharmacist and accredited pharmacist on the palliative care team needs to be clearly communicated and marketed to other ambivalent health professionals who currently resist the involvement of community pharmacists.

Education for palliative care should include professional development, top up training and mentoring. The PCPP offers an accessible, user friendly, comprehensive, interactive primer for pharmacists or students who wish to learn more about caring for people at the end of life.

Data from the feasibility trial suggests that the PCMMR is valued by patients but needs to be modified to allow both nurses and GPs to refer patients directly to a suitably credentialed accredited pharmacist. A remuneration model needs to include payment for both the initial medication management review and follow-up support.

Consideration needs to be given to the establishment of specialised palliative care pharmacies. This would help overcome supply and stocking difficulties and also ensure that community pharmacists involved have a positive attitude and a palliative care supply and stock plan.