International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy vol:34 issue:3 pages:452-459
Background: In the past three decades, the role of pharmacists has evolved toward working with other health professionals and the public in a patient-centered model of practice, which is called pharmaceutical care. This model has been implemented for most physical disorders but in relation to mental health, pharmacists’ role is still evolving.
Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate pharmacists’ attitudes, current practice, perceived barriers and training needs concerning pharmaceutical care for patients with depression. Furthermore we aimed to explain the results from a behavioral change theoretical framework.
Setting: The Surplus Network is one of the largest pharmacy chains in Flanders, Belgium. There are 97 pharmacies, employing 181 pharmacists, spread over the five Flemish provinces and Brussels. All pharmacists attending obligatory regional meetings during April and May 2009 were invited to participate, 149 surveys were returned (response rate: 82%).
Method: Written survey consisting of questions on 1) pharmacists’ attitude and current practice in depression care and pharmaceutical care for patients with other disorders; 2) potential barriers in providing pharmaceutical care for patients with depression; and 3) training needs. Paired samples t-tests and Wilcoxon-tests were used to analyze the data.
Main outcome measure: Attitude and current practice in depression care versus care for other disorders.
Results: Although the results show no difference in the attitude of pharmacists toward providing care for patients with depression versus other disorders (p=0.315), pharmacists report to provide significantly less care to depressed patients compared to patients with other disorders (p < 0.05). Perceived barriers toward providing depression care were the lack of information about the patient and their treatment, the fact that depression is a difficult condition, the lack of education in mental health and the lack of time and privacy in the pharmacy. These, and the reported training needs, may limit the self efficacy of pharmacists and hence influence current practice.
Conclusion: In spite of pharmacists’ positive attitude toward depression care, current practice displays actionable flaws. Barriers and training needs should be addressed in order to improve pharmaceutical care for patients with depression.