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Pharmacies need to become more dementia-friendly

By Scotland Correspondent

Community pharmacies need to become more dementia-friendly, given that the number of people with dementia in Scotland is predicted to double in the next 20 years, according to Sally Arnison, pharmacist at Barnton Pharmacy in Edinburgh.

Ms Arnison told participants of a pharmacy conference in Glasgow last week (20 June 2013) that raising awareness and knowledge of dementia among the whole pharmacy team is essential. The charity Alzheimer's Scotland had provided training for her pharmacy staff. “Remember to include delivery drivers in team training because they will regularly have contact with people with dementia,” she said.

Ms Arnison has produced a dementia-friendly pharmacy check-list which includes: making dementia resources available in the pharmacy; ensuring the pharmacy is accessible with clear signs and layout; and using services like the chronic medication service to help people with dementia. “It is also really important that you know the networks that exist so you can help people to navigate their way through them,” she said. Examples of networks included hospital and intermediate care teams, falls services, community mental health teams, home care service providers, and community groups.

Angela Lindsay, lead clinical pharmacist (Rehab and Assessment Directorate), NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, is the only pharmacist in Scotland so far to have trained as a dementia champion. “Carers are desperate for information and knowledge from pharmacists. But if we are going to be there to help, we have to ensure we are trained and have skills around dementia,” she said.

Further information about the dementia champion programme is available on the NHS Education for Scotland (NES) website. NES will also be launching a new dementia distance learning resource later this year for all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Scotland.

The conference was organised by a collaborative established to focus on pharmaceutical care for older people. The collaborative was set up by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, NHS Education for Scotland, Health Improvement Scotland and the NHS Scotland Directors of Pharmacy.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2013.11122804

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