To explore the views of community pharmacy staff, the general public and other stakeholders towards pharmacy-based alcohol screening and advice services. To involve all relevant stakeholders in designing an acceptable and feasible pharmacy-based alcohol screening and advice service. To evaluate a pilot service from the user perspective.
Mixed methods study involving a range of populations, designed to explore multiple perspectives and enable triangulation of results, to develop an optimal service design, prior to service commissioning.
Telephone interviews were conducted with relevant stakeholders and a street survey undertaken with the public to explore views on the desirability and feasibility of pharmacy-based alcohol services. Following this, a stakeholder working group was held, involving a nominal group technique, to develop and refine the service design. Finally a pilot service was evaluated from the user perspective through telephone interviews and direct observations by a trained researcher.
All stakeholder groups (pharmacy staff, public, commissioners, alcohol treatment service staff) viewed pharmacy-based alcohol screening services as acceptable and feasible with the potential for integration and/or combination with existing public health services. Privacy was the main concern of the public, but 80% were comfortable discussing alcohol in a pharmacy. These views were not influenced by drinking status age or gender, but people recruited in areas of high deprivation were more likely to accept a pro-active approach or alcohol-related advice from a pharmacist than those from areas of low deprivation. Stakeholder groups were in agreement on the acceptability of a pharmacy screening service, but alcohol treatment service staff viewed direct referral to alcohol support services less beneficial than other stakeholders. Posters in pharmacies and GP surgeries were viewed as most likely to encourage uptake of screening. Involvement of non-pharmacist pharmacy staff was seen as essential. The working group considered accessibility of pharmacies as the key facilitator for alcohol services, but agreed that an optimal service must ensure that poor pharmacy environment did not create a potential barrier, that clear information about the service's availability was necessary. Plus good use of quiet areas. Use of AUDIT-C as a prescreening tool by pharmacy staff, followed when appropriate by completion of full AUDIT by the pharmacist in a private room/quiet area was agreed as optimal to ensure accessibility plus privacy. Direct referral was viewed as desirable. Five pharmacies piloted this service for two months and recruited 164 people for alcohol screening, of whom 113 were low risk (AUDIT score 0-7), 24 increasing risk (8-19) and 28 high risk/possibly dependent drinkers (20 or above). Observations showed that pharmacy support staff were involved in proactively approaching customers, that 20 of the 72 customers observed (28%) during two hours in each pharmacy were invited for screening and that 14 (19%) accepted screening. Promotion of the service was variable dependent on company policies, but was shown to have a positive effect, as two of the ten service users interviewed requested screening. The environment was judged suitable for alcohol services in all pharmacies, but some quiet areas were not audibly discrete. Ten service users interviewed all considered the experience positive and all would recommend the service, but most wanted the service to be delivered in a private area.
The methodology enabled the development of pharmacy-based alcohol screening to be assessed for acceptability and feasibility from multiple perspectives, prior to full service commissioning. Results suggest that the pharmacy environment and concerns about privacy need to be recognized as potential barriers to service delivery. Good promotion is required to maximize service uptake and pharmacy staff need to be involved in both this and in service delivery.
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Categories: health Designing research journal article
Date Entered: 2018/09/19
Date Edited: 2018/09/19