Self-care support is an ‘inseparable’ component of quality healthcare for long term conditions (LTCs). Evidence of how patients view and use community pharmacy (CP) to engage in self-care of LTCs is limited.
To explore patients’ perspectives of engaging in self-care and use of CP for self-care support.
England and Scotland
Qualitative design employing semi-structured interviews. LTCs patients were recruited via General Practitioners (GPs) and CPs. Interviews were conducted between May 2013 and June 2014; they were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.
Twenty-four participants were interviewed. Three main themes emerged: engaging in self-care, resources for self-care support and (limited) use of community pharmacy. Participants’ LTC ‘lived experience’ showed that self-care was integral to daily living from being diagnosed to long-term maintenance of health/wellbeing; self-care engagement was very personal and diverse and was
based on beliefs and experiences. Healthcare professionals were viewed as providing information which was considered passive and insufficient in helping behavioural change. Non-healthcare sources (family, carers, friends, internet) were important in filling active support gaps, particularly lifestyle management. Participants’ use of, and identified need for, community pharmacy as a resource for self-care support of LTCs was limited and primarily focussed on medicines supply. There was low awareness and visibility of CP’s potential roles and capability.
CP needs to reflect on patients’ low awareness of its expertise and services to contribute to self-care support of LTCs. Rethinking how interventions are designed and ‘marketed’; incorporation of patients’ perspectives and collaboration with others, particularly GPs, could prove beneficial.