What are the experiences of patients who had their wound treated in pharmacy settings?
While the expansion of primary care wound services is important, serving to alleviate secondary and tertiary care utilization, patient satisfaction is required to ensure service uptake. Over the past few years, various community pharmacies across Australia have begun to offer dedicated wound clinics; however, evaluations of patient experiences have yet to be conducted. Therefore, a group of researchers from Australia set out to learn if these clinics were having the desired effect on those using them.
“A number of pharmacies in Western Australia offer wound care services within the pharmacy. However, to our knowledge, there had been no evaluation of patient satisfaction,” said Kenneth Lee, SFHEA, FPS, senior lecturer, pharmacy practice at the School of Allied Health in Crawley, Australia, who served as lead author on the paper. “We therefore wanted to evaluate patient satisfaction. This is important given that existing research suggests patients are dissatisfied with wound care services delivered in other settings.”
The study looked to explore both the experiences and satisfaction of patients who have received wound care consultations for their acute wounds in a community pharmacy setting, and also how current pharmacy-based wound services could be improved upon.
“Our choice was pragmatic—we chose patients who have received a wound care service in the pharmacies where we were aware offered the service,” Lee said, explaining interviews were conducted with patients across five pharmacy-based wound care clinics in Western Australia.
From these interviews, the authors discovered 5 key themes: the accessibility of wound services, the comprehensiveness of wound care services, confidence in wound care consultants, the awareness and promotion of wound services, and the expansion of wound care services. The key message is that patients are satisfied with the accessibility and comprehensiveness of pharmacy-based wound service delivery.
“Overall, participants were satisfied with the accessibility and comprehensiveness of pharmacy-based wound service delivery, trusted the health care providers, and wanted the service to be expanded,” Lee said. “The reported patient satisfaction, confidence in the health care provider, and desire to expand the service suggests there is potential for the service to grow in Australia.”
Due to the growing costs of wound care globally, Lee believes it’s necessary to further evaluate and expand wound care services in the primary care setting on an international level.
“Dermatologists and other health professionals could consider raising awareness to their patients that some pharmacies may offer this service, and to ask patients to enquire with their local pharmacy,” he said. “This ensures greater accessibility to care.”
Beyond patient satisfaction, the study authors noted it is important to determine how well the wounds are actually managed by pharmacists that provide this wound care service. While the authors have not examined this at this stage, they recommend future work to be done in this space.