Consumer perceptions of a project considering the role of community pharmacists in the management of depression

Judith Crockett, Susan Taylor

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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Abstract

Introduction: International research has shown pharmacists can have a significant positive impact on the wellbeing of those suffering depression but despite the prevalence of depression in rural Australia there has been little similar research undertaken in rural Australia. This paper examines consumer perceptions of a project carried out by staff of the University of Sydney and funded by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia considering the role of community pharmacists in the management of depression in rural New South Wales.Methods: Thirty two rural pharmacists were recruited to the project and allocated randomly to either the 'control' or 'intervention' group. Intervention pharmacists were trained in depression management and asked to dispense medication with extra advice and support, while control pharmacists gave 'usual care', that is, the care they provided to patients prior to the commencement of the study. Consumer participants who had started taking an antidepressant medication for depression within 3 months of the study's commencement were recruited to the study by the pharmacists. The impact of pharmacist intervention on patient wellbeing was monitored by patient interview carried out at recruitment, at 1 month and at 2 months after recruitment. The interviews included quantitative assessment of psychological wellbeing, attitudes towards taking antidepressant medication and an open ended questions asking for 'other comments' about various aspects of the project.Results: One hundred and six consumers were recruited by the pharmacists. These consumers had a mean age of 46 years, were not currently employed, and predominantly female. Responses by the consumers to the 'other comment' questions are identified and grouped under four themes: consumer involvement in the project, pharmacist service, perceptions of telephone interviews and hoped for impacts of the project.Conclusions: Participant responses reflect a perceived dearth ofunderstanding of their needs from policy makers and, to a lesser extent, health professionals. They show an appreciation of the value the community pharmacist may play in addressing these needs, suggesting pharmacists with additional training in the identification and management of depression and increased understanding of anti-depressant medications are in the position to enhance the wellbeing of depression sufferers by providing increased information on medication, improved support services and enhanced understanding of depression. Given participants' favourable responses to the contact provided through the telephone interviews it is recommended that further research be undertaken into the value of telephone support for those experiencing depression in rural communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication9th National Rural Health Conference
Subtitle of host publicationStanding up for rural health: learning from the past, action for the future
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherNational Rural Health Alliance
Pages10
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventNational Rural Health Alliance Conference - Albury, Australia., Australia
Duration: 07 Mar 200710 Mar 2007

Conference

ConferenceNational Rural Health Alliance Conference
Country/TerritoryAustralia
Period07/03/0710/03/07

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