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Keywords:

  • dementia;
  • community pharmacists;
  • older people;
  • approaches to dementia;
  • pain

ABSTRACT

Objectives

To explore community pharmacists' experiences with and attitudes towards people with dementia, and to determine the knowledge they have about pain and its management in this patient population.

Methods

A questionnaire comprising five sections, including the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire, was mailed, on two occasions, during February and March 2011, to all community pharmacies in Northern Ireland (n = 530).

Results

The response rate was 34.3%. A greater proportion of pharmacists provided pharmaceutical care to people with dementia living at home (91.2%) than those living in care homes (40.1%). Respondents most frequently encountered queries relating to starting and stopping medications, compliance with medication, and availability of formulation types. The mean total score for the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire measure was 72.8, indicating a positive attitude towards people with dementia, and respondents demonstrated a strong person-centred approach towards this patient population. The majority of respondents recognised the difficulty of assessing pain in people with dementia; however, younger pharmacists (p = 0.041) and pharmacists who provided pharmaceutical care to people with dementia (p = 0.012) were more likely to be aware of the pain assessment tools for use in people with dementia. Pharmacists appeared uncertain about how to appropriately manage pain in people with dementia.

Conclusions

The study has revealed that community pharmacists often encounter people with dementia, especially those living in their own homes, and they have positive attitudes towards the patient population. However, training in the assessment and management of pain in people with dementia must be developed to further improve their knowledge in this area. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.