Back to Chronic pain management by rural and urban community pharmacists

chronic pain low back headaches neuropathyAlmost one in five Canadian adults suffer from chronic pain. It is a significant health concern that affects many aspects of a person’s life, from physical and psychological health to spiritual and emotional wellbeing, with effects that often extend to families, society and the workplace.

Community pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals and their position at the frontlines of patient care affords them considerable potential to assess, treat and manage chronic pain.

Led by Feng Chang and Tejal Patel at Waterloo and Beth Sproule, at the University of Toronto, the Chronic Pain Management by Community Pharmacists team will soon administer a survey to better understand what pharmacists know about chronic pain.

Sent to community pharmacists and those who are part of family health teams throughout the province, the online survey will gauge pharmacist attitudes and perceptions towards patients who suffer from chronic pain, in particular from chronic headaches, painful diabetic neuropathy and low-back problems, along with their therapeutic knowledge to treat these chronic conditions.

“We also completed a literature review of innovations in community pharmacy practices and have started a similar review on the implementation of new services in community pharmacies,” Dr. Chang said.

“These reviews are providing the background for the second phase of the project — developing an evidence-based education program and practice model for community pharmacists that incorporates an interprofessional healthcare perspective.”

Once developed, the education program and practice model will be pilot tested in community practices to better integrate pharmacists into the circle of care for patients living with chronic pain.

“Our goal is to create a resource for community pharmacists so they can better assess and manage chronic pain in their patients, as they assist other healthcare providers in coordinating their care,” Dr. Chang said.