Pharmacist experiences with providing care for patients with chronic pain in the community setting: A qualitative study
Author(s): ,
Feng Chang
Affiliations:
BScPharm PharmD
Tejal Patel
Affiliations:
BScPharm PharmD
Canadian Pharmacists Conference ePoster Library. Tabeefar H. Jun 4, 2017; 174282
Mr. Hamed Tabeefar
Mr. Hamed Tabeefar
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Abstract
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Objectives
Chronic pain is a condition pharmacists frequently encounter in practice; however, the pharmacist role is under-investigated. This study examined pharmacist perceptions and experience in providing care to patients with chronic pain.

Methods
Primary care practicing pharmacists in Ontario were recruited and interviewed using a semi-structured guide. Interviews were analyzed using grounded theory. Sample recruitment continued until saturation was achieved.

Results
Of the 12 pharmacists who responded to the email invitation, two did not meet eligibility criteria and one withdrew. The sample consisted of 6 female and 3 male pharmacists with a mean age of 47 years (range: 27 – 63) and mean of 20 years (range: 2 – 40) of practice. Five themes emerged from the content analysis: (1) perception of chronic pain (2) concern about opioid use (3) lack of support for patients, (4) communication with prescribers, and (5) knowledge gaps. Participants were comfortable with their knowledge of chronic pain and were empathetic of their patients' suffering. They also felt their role is limited within the current healthcare system. Participants reported that misuse of opioids is the most challenging; issues included high potential for misuse, inadequate monitoring and under-use of other medications and resources for the treatment of chronic pain. Additionally, participants believed that patients suffer from lack of support by their family, employers and the health care system. Furthermore, trust was identified as the most important parameter in building a collaborative relationship with physicians. Finally, participants felt more training on legal issues related to opioids is required.

Conclusion
Pharmacists were empathetic towards patients with chronic pain; however, they felt their role is limited in current climate. Deficiencies in the current system of managing chronic pain were identified including opioid use as the most challenging. Future research should investigate expansion of pharmacist roles to optimize chronic pain management.

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