Exploring the potential extended role of community pharmacy in the management of osteoarthritis: A multi‐methods study with pharmacy staff and other healthcare professionals

Joanna Simkins*, Melanie A. Holden, Opeyemi Babatunde, Simon White, Elaine Nicholls, Angela Long, Krysia Dziedzic, Adrian Chudyk, Adam Todd, Christine Walker, Colin Stanford, Elizabeth Cottrell, John Edwards, Emma L. Healey, Tania Cork, Christian Mallen, Nicola O’Brien

*Corresponding author for this work

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Osteoarthritis is the commonest form of chronic joint pain, which patients often self‐manage before seeking healthcare advice. Patients frequently seek advice from community pharmacies, and a recent policy has recommended integrating community pharmacies into long‐term condition pathways. This study explored community pharmacy teams' (CPs) and other healthcare professionals' (HCPs) views on community pharmacies providing an extended role for osteoarthritis management, identifying potential barriers and facilitators to this.

A multi‐methods study comprising surveys of CPs and other HCPs, followed by qualitative interviews. Descriptive statistics were used in an exploratory analysis of the survey data. Qualitative data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis and the identified barriers and facilitators were mapped to the Theoretical Domains Framework.

CPs and other HCPs in the surveys and interviews reported that an extended role for osteoarthritis management could include: a subjective assessment, explaining the joint problem and its treatment, medication management and support for self‐care. There was less consensus on diagnosing the problem as OA and completing an objective assessment. A key facilitator was training to deliver the role, whilst barriers were high workload and lack of access to General Practitioner medical records.

Acceptable elements of an extended community pharmacy role for osteoarthritis centre around the provision of information, advice on medication and supported self‐management. Conclusion: CPs are well placed to contribute towards evidenced‐based osteoarthritis management. Feasibility testing of delivering the extended role is needed and future implementation requires training for CPs and raising public awareness of the extended role.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1873
Number of pages17
JournalMusculoskeletal Care
Issue number1
Early online date7 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2024

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