London North West Local Practice Forum (LNWLPF) has won a “best practice award” for research into how community pharmacists can support self-management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The Primary Care Respiratory Society (PCRS) awarded the prize to the LPF at the recent PCRS-UK Conference 2017, held in Telford on 29 and 30 September. The forum shared their results in a poster entitled “Sharing evidence of how community pharmacist interventions can improve COPD management”.
Darush Attar, respiratory lead for Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group and part of the LNWLPF steering committee, was on hand at the conference to talk delegates through the work.
The research, which took place in February and March 2015, involved 18 community pharmacies in Ealing, Harrow and Hillingdon, who, between them, spoke to 135 patients. The project aimed to identify gaps in self-management of COPD, and to see whether pharmacist-led care of COPD patients led to improved self-management.
The forum’s steering group designed a structured questionnaire for the participating pharmacists to use with their patients, as well as a patient support pack.
At the end of the research period, 75 patients had received inhaler technique coaching and 88 had been offered medicines use reviews. Pulmonary rehabilitation was discussed with 104 patients. Before the intervention, inhaler technique and adherence in this patient group had been identified as “poor” and only 24% of the patients reported having previously been offered pulmonary rehabilitation.
Of the 39 smokers in the patient group, 32 were referred to smoking cessation services.
“Our project shows that community pharmacist support has a positive impact on patient care and improves outcomes,” said Stephanie Bancroft, NWLLPF lead. “It also increases recognition for pharmacists as an important part of the patient management team”.
The forum has been active in research since 2014. In 2016, the group piloted a Parkinson’s specific medicines use review in north-west London, which is now being expanded in collaboration with Parkinson’s UK.
“Offering our LPF members the opportunity to participate in projects is a way of involving them in research that they would otherwise be unable to do,” Bancroft said.
Darush Attar said that the LPF had “learnt many things from the [COPD] experience”.
“We’re now planning a teaching and awareness campaign to help reduce visits to GPs and admissions to hospitals in the worst months of asthma — typically, September and October.”