We advance Community Pharmacy sleep services to improve patient outcomes in Primary Care.
Our first action:
In the summer of 2021, our first action was to assess the Community Pharmacists’ perceptions of sleep-related advice requests and their role in sleep management.
Our abstract was published in the BMJ Open Respiratory Research journal and can be found here: https://bmjopenrespres.bmj.com/content/8/Suppl_1/A9.3 ↗
It was also presented at the British Sleep Society meeting in November 2021.
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’.
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.
We plan to dramatically improve on the quality and accessibility of sleep expertise accessible in the High Street community pharmacy (CP) through bespoke professional training and patient education materials.
Sleep issues span the generations and affect a large proportion of the population. Our plan will have a lasting impact upon the mental health and resilience of the entire community, as well as freeing up invaluable GP time.
Through accessible, earliest possible intervention, we can support people in need of sleep expertise and help them cope, adapt and prosper. This is especially pertinent with our communities “secretly” struggling from the seismic changes seen over the last two years.