Background Providing patients/carers with relevant medicines information (MI) helps adherence and therefore patient outcomes. Improved adherence is particularly important in patients with long term conditions. To provide greater opportunities for medicines optimisation for paediatric neurology patients it was proposed that greater access to a specialist pharmacist was required to improve MI provision.
Aim To evaluate patient/carer satisfaction with the MI received and assess whether a consultation with a pharmacist may be deemed useful.
Method The Satisfaction with Information about Medicines Scale (SIMS) developed by Horne et al (2003) was adapted for use with paediatric patients.1 The questionnaire consisted of 15 questions; nine looked at the action and usage (AU) of medication, with a maximum score of 9. Questions 10-15 related to the information provided concerning potential problems with medication (PPM) with a maximum score of 6. The higher the scores, the more satisfied the participants with the level of information received. Parents and their children were invited to attend a consultation with the pharmacist; those that accepted were asked to complete the SIMS questionnaire prior to the appointment and then asked to repeat the questionnaire two months later.
Results 17 families participated, the mean age of the patients was 7.2 years with 47% patients on a combination of three anti-epileptic drugs and 41.2% experiencing daily seizures.
The median total SIMS score was 7, the AU subscale had a median score of 5 and the PPM subscale had a median score of 1. This indicates that participants were only satisfied with 46.7% of the received MI they had been asked about. To account for the different weightings of each subscale the percentage satisfaction for each subscale was calculated. The participants were satisfied with 55.6% of the SIM questions in the AU subscale but only satisfied with 16.6% of the SIM questions in the PPM subscale.
14 families were lost to follow up, the 3 families that repeated the questionnaire indicated that seeing a pharmacist may improve their satisfaction with MI provision. The average total SIMS score increased by 5 after seeing the pharmacist. All 3 families agreed that having an appointment with the pharmacist was very useful.
Conclusion This work has indicated that a pharmacist within paediatric neurology outpatient clinics may increase patient/carer satisfaction with MI provision but further study is required to fully examine the impact in a larger number of patients.
The baseline SIMS survey highlighted a difference between the two subscales with participants more satisfied with information about AU than the very low levels of satisfaction regarding PPM. Studies in adult patients have also found that PPM scores are lower indicating patients do want this additional information.2 3 Further work is needed to assess and improve satisfaction with MI provision to paediatric patients and their families.
The greatest limitation was the large number lost to follow-up, severely limiting the ability to assess the impact of the pharmacist intervention. Potentially two months between the two surveys was too long although the intention had been to minimise researcher induced bias.
Horne R, Hankins M, Jenkins R. The satisfaction with information about medicines scale (SIMS): a new measurement tool for audit and research. Quality in Health Care 2001;10:135-140.
Fogg A, Staufenberg EF, Small I, et al. An exploratory study of primary care pharmacist-led epilepsy consultations. Int J Pharm Pract 2012;20:294-302.
Twigg MJ, Bhattacharya D, Clark A, et al. What do patients need to know? A study to assess patients’ satisfaction with information about medicines. Int J Pharm Pract 2016;24:229–236.
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