Interactions between parents/carers of pre-school children and pharmacy staff when buying non-prescription medicines

Helen F. Boardman, Nicola J. Gray, B. Sue Symonds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective Little is known about the interactions between pharmacy staff and parents/carers who buy nonprescription medicines for children. Responsibility for choice and administration of children's medicines falls to the parent/ carer. Pharmacy advice should support safe and effective use of medicines for children. This paper explores the interactions between pharmacy staff and purchasers of children's medicines, in terms of questioning and advice giving. Setting Thirty-nine community pharmacies across four Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in England. Methods A self-completion survey and a subset of semistructured telephone interviews were undertaken with parents/carers buying oral medicines for children aged 0-4 years. Main outcome measure Frequency and type of questioning and advice given by pharmacy staff to parents purchasing nonprescription medicines. Results One hundred and thirty-four surveys and thirtyfour interviews were completed: most participants were 25-44 year-old women. The majority (85%) reported being questioned, most often by medicines counter assistants, to establish the safety and suitability of the medicine. Three key questions (whether the medicine had been used before, the age of the child, and concurrent medicines), however, were not always asked. Interviews revealed self-perceptions of 'expert' and 'novice' users, depending on experience with the medicine purchased. This seemed to affect their perception of their need for questioning and advice from pharmacy staff. Conclusion Interactions in the pharmacy involving the purchase of medicines for young children are varied with regard to questioning and advice given. This study has found that key questions are not always asked before a medicine is sold, and advice about using the medicine was given in just over one-third of encounters. Parents/carers also identified a range of additional information they would like to have received with their medicine: there was, however, no clear pattern to the type of information they would like. Parents reflected on the questioning and advice in terms of their self-perception of expertise with the medicine. Both pharmacists and their assistants should adopt a flexible questioning approach based on parents/ carers' advice and information needs that respects expertise, but does not assume it.Objective Little is known about the interactions between pharmacy staff and parents/carers who buy nonprescription medicines for children. Responsibility for choice and administration of children's medicines falls to the parent/ carer. Pharmacy advice should support safe and effective use of medicines for children. This paper explores the interactions between pharmacy staff and purchasers of children's medicines, in terms of questioning and advice giving. Setting Thirty-nine community pharmacies across four Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in England. Methods A self-completion survey and a subset of semistructured telephone interviews were undertaken with parents/carers buying oral medicines for children aged 0-4 years. Main outcome measure Frequency and type of questioning and advice given by pharmacy staff to parents purchasing nonprescription medicines. Results One hundred and thirty-four surveys and thirtyfour interviews were completed: most participants were 25-44 year-old women. The majority (85%) reported being questioned, most often by medicines counter assistants, to establish the safety and suitability of the medicine. Three key questions (whether the medicine had been used before, the age of the child, and concurrent medicines), however, were not always asked. Interviews revealed self-perceptions of 'expert' and 'novice' users, depending on experience with the medicine purchased. This seemed to affect their perception of their need for questioning and advice from pharmacy staff. Conclusion Interactions in the pharmacy involving the purchase of medicines for young children are varied with regard to questioning and advice given. This study has found that key questions are not always asked before a medicine is sold, and advice about using the medicine was given in just over one-third of encounters. Parents/carers also identified a range of additional information they would like to have received with their medicine: there was, however, no clear pattern to the type of information they would like. Parents reflected on the questioning and advice in terms of their self-perception of expertise with the medicine. Both pharmacists and their assistants should adopt a flexible questioning approach based on parents/ carers' advice and information needs that respects expertise, but does not assume it.Objective Little is known about the interactions between pharmacy staff and parents/carers who buy nonprescription medicines for children. Responsibility for choice and administration of children's medicines falls to the parent/ carer. Pharmacy advice should support safe and effective use of medicines for children. This paper explores the interactions between pharmacy staff and purchasers of children's medicines, in terms of questioning and advice giving. Setting Thirty-nine community pharmacies across four Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in England. Methods A self-completion survey and a subset of semistructured telephone interviews were undertaken with parents/carers buying oral medicines for children aged 0-4 years. Main outcome measure Frequency and type of questioning and advice given by pharmacy staff to parents purchasing nonprescription medicines. Results One hundred and thirty-four surveys and thirtyfour interviews were completed: most participants were 25-44 year-old women. The majority (85%) reported being questioned, most often by medicines counter assistants, to establish the safety and suitability of the medicine. Three key questions (whether the medicine had been used before, the age of the child, and concurrent medicines), however, were not always asked. Interviews revealed self-perceptions of 'expert' and 'novice' users, depending on experience with the medicine purchased. This seemed to affect their perception of their need for questioning and advice from pharmacy staff. Conclusion Interactions in the pharmacy involving the purchase of medicines for young children are varied with regard to questioning and advice given. This study has found that key questions are not always asked before a medicine is sold, and advice about using the medicine was given in just over one-third of encounters. Parents/carers also identified a range of additional information they would like to have received with their medicine: there was, however, no clear pattern to the type of information they would like. Parents reflected on the questioning and advice in terms of their self-perception of expertise with the medicine. Both pharmacists and their assistants should adopt a flexible questioning approach based on parents/ carers' advice and information needs that respects expertise, but does not assume it.

Original languageEnglish
Article number832
Pages (from-to)832-841
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Volume33
Issue number5
Early online date20 Aug 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Interactions between parents/carers of pre-school children and pharmacy staff when buying non-prescription medicines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this