Feasibility, accessibility and acceptability a pharmacist-led ear health intervention at rural community pharmacies (LISTEN UP): a mixed-methods study in Queensland, Australia

Taylor, Selina, Cairns, Alice, and Glass, Beverley Dawn (2022) Feasibility, accessibility and acceptability a pharmacist-led ear health intervention at rural community pharmacies (LISTEN UP): a mixed-methods study in Queensland, Australia. BMJ Open, 12 (4). e057011.

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Abstract

Objective Ear disease in rural and remote communities is occurring at high rates, with limited access to health services and health providers contributing to the problem. Community pharmacists are well-placed to provide expanded services to improve ear health in rural communities. We aimed to evaluate the feasibility, accessibility and acceptability of a pharmacist-led intervention for ear disease in consumers presenting to community pharmacy.

Design Prospective preintervention and postintervention mixed-methods study. An ethnographic lens of rural culture was applied to the descriptive qualitative component of the study.

Setting Two rural community pharmacies in Queensland, Australia.

Participants People aged 6 months or older, who present with an ear complaint to a participating community pharmacy.

Intervention LISTEN UP (Locally Integrated Screening and Testing Ear aNd aUral Programme) is a community pharmacy-based intervention to improve the management of ear health. Trained pharmacists conducted ear examinations using otoscopy and tympanometry on consumers following a LISTEN UP protocol. They made recommendations including no treatment, pharmacy only products or general practitioner (GP) referral. Consumers were contacted 7 days later for follow-up.

Results 55 rural consumers participated in the study. The most commonly reported complaints were 'blocked ear' and 'ear pain'. Pharmacists recommended over-the-counter products to two-thirds of the participants and referred one quarter to a GP. 90% (50/55) of the consumers were highly satisfied with the service and would recommend the service. All consumers described the service positively with particular reference to convenience, improved confidence and appreciation of the knowledge gained about their ear complaint. Pharmacists were motivated to upskill and manage workflow to incorporate the service and expected both consumers and GPs to be more accepting of future expanded services as a result of LISTEN UP. However, without funding to provide the service, during the study other remunerated pharmacy tasks took priority over providing LISTEN UP.

Conclusion Rural community pharmacists can provide an acceptable and accessible ear health service; however, it is not feasible without a clear funding structure to provide resources including additional pharmacists, equipment and training.

Item ID: 73643
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2044-6055
Keywords: adult otolaryngology, paediatric otolaryngology, primary care
Copyright Information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2022 07:37
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420603 Health promotion @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 44
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