A study into the role of community pharmacies for chronically ill people and their carers is being conducted for people living in the Northern Rivers region.
A study into the role of community pharmacies for chronically ill people and their carers is being conducted for people living in the Northern Rivers region. David Sparkes

Chronic illness and carers subject of in depth pharmacy study

A STUDY into the role of community pharmacies by the Griffith Health Institute is unearthing the true effects of chronic illness in the Northern Rivers area.

If you have a chronic illness or care for someone who has one and you are living in the Northern Rivers area, the project team would like to hear from you.

Eligible participants will be asked to do a 30-minute phone survey and will be reimbursed with a $50 supermarket voucher for their time.

This two and a half year study finishes next year and is exploring the experiences of people living with a chronic condition (eg diabetes, asthma) and their unpaid carers, specifically focusing on how community pharmacy can help them.

The study is led by Amanda Wheeler and her team at Griffith University's Logan campus.

"Many of the carers we interviewed also experience chronic conditions themselves, and so they maintained a double role; one that was about managing their own health and the other around taking care of a person with a chronic condition," said Professor Wheeler.

"We were surprised to find the narrow view people had of the pharmacists' role and also their limited experiences with community pharmacy.

"The relationship between a community pharmacist and a person with a chronic condition can be crucial, and as pharmacists are the health professionals that people see most, we need to know how we can improve this service. Community pharmacists are well- placed to provide some of this much-needed ongoing support and assist people to self-manage their chronic condition(s)."

The researchers were particularly interested in the Northern Rivers region as it included communities where lack of specialist services sometimes required travelling 3-4 hours each way to get treatment.

For participants with no access to private transport and who experienced mobility issues, accessing travel arrangements was an ongoing challenge. And for participants in paid employment, this type of travel was unsustainable. "Each year more people are being diagnosed with a chronic health condition(s), and we have found people in and around the Northern Rivers are experiencing difficulty accessing treatment, particularly for those having to travel to the Gold Coast or Brisbane to access services, for some without any access to personal transport and limited access to public transport, which for some was further compounded by their limited mobility."



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