Introduction Community pharmacists (CPs) are an easily accessible, convenient source of first-line health advice. However, little is known about the range of sleep-related problems encountered by CPs or their opinions on pharmacy-based sleep services. This study explored CP’s perceptions of the sleep-related problems they encounter, their undergraduate training on sleep-related disorders and views of their role in providing sleep-related advice.
Method An online survey utilising evidence-based approaches to improve response rates was distributed to CPs recruited through professional networks and social media. The survey asked CPs to record their perceptions on how often patients sought advice on several common sleep problems, as either ‘very often’ (most days), ‘often’ (1–3 times/week), ‘occasionally’ (1–3 times/month) or ‘rarely’ < once/month).
Other areas included self-rated confidence dealing with requests on sleep problems (1–5 Likert scale: 1 being ‘not confident’ and 5 ‘confident’), estimated proportion of GP-referred requests for advice and the perceived need for community-based sleep-related services. Data analyses were descriptive.
Results Completed responses were obtained from 120 CPs. Results summarised in figures 1 and 2. Combining ‘often’ and ‘very often’, the most common sleep-related problems encountered were insomnia (60%) and sleepiness/tiredness/fatigue (54%).
Half the CPs self-rated their confidence as 3 on the ‘confident - not confident’ scale. Fifty-seven percent reported that they received no undergraduate training on sleep problems. Proposed pharmacist involvement in sleep screening/signposting services or a pharmacy-based intervention/referral programme was supported by 78% and 70% respectively.
Fifty-eight percent of CPs were ‘very often’ or ‘often’ asked about symptoms of OSAS, with the majority (93%) asked ‘occasionally’.
Discussion CPs frequently encounter patients with symptoms of sleep disorders, but their confidence and training in dealing with these is lacking. This study highlights the need for specialist sleep training for pharmacists and the development of pharmacy-based services to support and improve patient outcomes.
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.