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Community pharmacists play important role in palliative care

Good communication between all members of the multidisciplinary team is essential for providing good quality palliative care. Unfortunately, community pharmacists are often not included in this and so simply do not know who their palliative care patients are. Many of the problems faced by palliative care patients are medicines related and community pharmacists would be in a good position to resolve many of these problems. They are also well placed to support patients and their families when receiving care and to help them die in a place of their choosing.

I encourage community pharmacists to talk to their local GP practices and attend the regular Gold Standards Framework meetings that practices hold to discuss palliative care patients. I would also encourage colleagues who work with hospice inpatient units to communicate with their community-based colleagues, especially when patients are being discharged because there will often be significant changes to their medicines.

Steve Gabell



Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20068392

Readers' comments (1)

  • Thank you for highlighting this important area of practice. You may be interested in initiatives in Scotland:
    1. an NHS Highland Macmillan funded project including community pharmacists as part of the wider primary care team which has generated a number of tools to assist engagement.
    2. projects within NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde focusing on community pharmacy palliative care facilitators
    3. SPCPA (Scottish Palliative Care Pharmacy Association - membership is on the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care website) - which provides support for palliative care pharmaceutical care provision, a hub for communications for pharmacists and pharmacy staff to engage around palliative care issues and provides peer review . The group have discussed and members have produced discharge information transfer documents from hospices to their community pharmacu colleagues.
    Along with these are:
    4. Community Pharmacy palliative care networks which occur across the UK
    5. PCPN - Palliative Care Pharmacists Network which is the organisation supporting palliative care pharmaceutical care provision across England and Wales

    Kind regards

    Alison MacRobbie

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