Perceived roles and barriers in caring for the people who are homeless: a survey of UK community pharmacists.
Gibson Smith, Kathrine Lesley
Stewart, Derek C.
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PAUDYAL, V., GIBSON SMITH, K., MACLURE, K., FORBES-MCKAY, K., RADLEY, A. and STEWART, D. 2019. Perceived roles and barriers in caring for the people who are homeless: a survey of UK community pharmacists. International journal of clinical pharmacy [online], 41(1), pages 215-227. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11096-019-00789-4
Background: Community pharmacists can be an accessible source for advice and support for the people who are homeless, given their utilisation of a variety of currently available services such as dispensing of medicines, drugs and alcohol services. Objective: To determine community pharmacists’ training, experiences and behavioural determinants in counselling and management of homeless population. Setting: UK community pharmacies. Method: A questionnaire based on literature and theoretical domains framework was mailed to randomly sampled community pharmacies in England and Scotland (n = 2000). Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Main outcome measures: Pharmacists’ perspectives, pharmacists’ training, pharmacists’ experiences and behavioural determinants. Results: A total of 321 responses (RR 16.1%) were received. Respondents indicated lack of knowledge, skills, intentions as well as contextual factors such as lack of guidelines impacted on their counselling and management of homeless patients. Less than a third (n = 101, 32.2%) indicated that they knew where to refer a homeless patient for social support. Broaching the subject of homelessness was outside their comfort zone (n = 139, 44.3%). Only four (1.2%) respondents could correctly answer all knowledge assessment questions. Conclusions: Community pharmacist identified lack of education, training opportunities and guidelines in counselling and management of homeless patients. Targeting community pharmacists’ knowledge, skills and intention to provide care to the homeless patients may enable addressing health inequality through community pharmacy.