Good communication between all members of the multidisciplinary team is essential for providing good quality palliative care. Unfortunately, community pharmacists are often not included in this and so simply do not know who their palliative care patients are. Many of the problems faced by palliative care patients are medicines related and community pharmacists would be in a good position to resolve many of these problems. They are also well placed to support patients and their families when receiving care and to help them die in a place of their choosing.
I encourage community pharmacists to talk to their local GP practices and attend the regular Gold Standards Framework meetings that practices hold to discuss palliative care patients. I would also encourage colleagues who work with hospice inpatient units to communicate with their community-based colleagues, especially when patients are being discharged because there will often be significant changes to their medicines.