Study objectives: (1) To identify the medication management needs of chronic heart failure (CHF) patients and their caregivers; (2) To examine the perceived support for medication management available to these people from health professionals; (3) To identify the actual and potential perceived contribution of pharmacists to medication management.
Setting: A mixed urban/ rural region in the west of Scotland.
Design: Semi-structured qualitative research interviews.
Participants: A total of 50 people with CHF (NYHA Class II and III) due to left ventricular systolic dysfunction (33 males; mean age 67 years, 17 females; mean age 68 years) and 30 nominated caregivers recruited from the outpatient departments of two hospitals in the West of Scotland. Sampling was purposive to include patients from a range of CHF severity, ages and sexes.
Main results: Managing medications was a responsibility shared by both the patients with CHF and caregivers. Treatment regimens were reported to be difficult to comply with. Health professionals were seen to provide little support for medication management. Pharmacists were viewed as being a good and accessible source of practical assistance who were also knowledgeable about the individual's heart health history. Participants reported valuing advice from pharmacists about the side effects of medications and for their assistance in reducing the complex logistics of medication management and in having medications delivered.
Conclusions: Patients with CHF and caregivers voiced a willingness to try to manage their medication regimen accurately but had a limited capacity to do so. Pharmacists were viewed as providing valuable support to patients with CHF and their caregivers, in terms of medication management. The extended role of pharmacists in medication management of CHF should be encouraged.