Background: We have previously reported the development of an outpatient palliative care practice under pharmacist-physician collaboration. The Doris A. Howell Service at the University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center includes two pharmacists who participate in a transdisciplinary clinic and provide follow-up care to patients.
Objective: This study evaluated pharmacist interventions and patient outcomes of a pharmacist-led outpatient palliative care practice.
Methods: This was a retrospective data analysis conducted at a single, academic, comprehensive cancer center. New (first visit) patient consultations were referred by an oncologist or hematologist to an outpatient palliative care practice. A pharmacist evaluated the patient at the first visit and at follow-up (second, third, and fourth visits). Medication problems identified, medication changes made, and changes in pain scores were assessed.
Results: Eighty-four new and 135 follow-up patient visits with the pharmacist occurred from March 2011 to March 2012. All new patients (n = 80) were mostly women (n = 44), had localized disease (n = 42), a gastrointestinal cancer type (n = 21), and were on a long-acting (n = 61) and short-acting (n = 70) opioid. A lack of medication efficacy was the most common problem for symptoms of pain, constipation, and nausea/vomiting that was identified by the pharmacist at all visits. A change in pain medication dose and initiation of a new medication for constipation and nausea/vomiting were the most common interventions by the pharmacist. A statistically significant change in pain score was observed for the third visit, but not for the second and fourth visits.
Conclusions: A pharmacist-led outpatient palliative care practice identified medication problems for management of pain, constipation, and nausea/vomiting. Medication changes involved a change in dose and/or initiating a new medication. Trends were observed in improvement and stabilization of pain over subsequent clinic visits.
Keywords: Pharmacist; oncology; pain clinic; palliative.
© The Author(s) 2015.