Overview of pharmacies and how they can identify, support and refer carers

Overview of pharmacies and how they can identify, support and refer carers

Pharmacies hold a unique position in terms of their accessibility, the frequency with which many carers visit their local pharmacy and the supportive and professional relationship they develop with regular customers.

Pharmacies hold a unique position in terms of their accessibility, the frequency with which many carers visit their local pharmacy and the supportive and professional relationship they develop with regular customers. 

This position puts them in a strong position to support carers – not only for their ability to provide a range of advice and healthcare services, but also to be able to identify carers and refer them on to GPs and local carers services.

Steps to becoming a carer-friendly pharmacy

Pharmacies can become ‘carer friendly’ by taking a few simple steps and by committing to the support of carers. 

  • Ensure all staff are trained to be carer aware, sensitive to carers’ needs and the challenges they face and understand the best way to engage effectively with carers.
  • Ensure all staff are pro-active in identifying, referring and supporting carers.
  • Identify a member of the team to take on the role of ‘Carers Champion’, to lead and facilitate carer referrals and act as a contact point for the local carers centre. 
  • Display posters and leaflets to encourage carers to self-identify.

Other steps you could take include:

  • Ensure there are agreed carer pathways in place, including those associated with the services the pharmacy offers such as Medicines Use Reviews and prescription collection and delivery. Using these carer pathways, the pharmacy will be able to offer a range of existing services to carers in a manner that is relevant to the carer.
  • Pro-actively speak to people using pharmacy services who you think may be a carer, and with their consent refer them to their local carer’s service and GP.
  • Have in place agreed pathways for the referral process – a pathway to services that could support carers to enjoy improved health and well-being and improve their ability to care.
  • Follow agreed procedures to obtain the consent of the carer and, where relevant, the consent of the person they care for, where referrals are being made or where the carer is going to be present while the person with care needs is having a Medicines Use Review or other pharmacy provided services. 

These simple steps could be augmented by local ‘add-ons’, such as pharmacy delivery engagement with carers, pharmacy-based health checks and free flu vaccinations for carers where the pharmacy has been commissioned to do so or where the pharmacy agrees to provide this service free of charge.

Carer Friendly Pharmacy Pilot Resources

The following resources are available to those pharmacies identified as taking part in the pilot, and participants can order additional supplies by contacting your local carers service in the designated areas.

  • posters (A3, A4 & A5)
  • leaflets
  • referral forms
  • badges to be worn by pharmacy staff
  • training attendance certificates
  • training workbooks
  • dispenser for the leaflets
  • dispenser for the referral forms.  

You can view some of the leaflets and training material on the pharmacy pilot resources page.

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