Counseling of children and adolescents in community pharmacies: Results from a 14-day observational study

J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2016 May-Jun;56(3):266-269.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2016.03.001.


Objectives: To characterize community pharmacists' interactions with children and their caregivers.

Methods: This observational study was conducted over a 14-day period in 3 community pharmacies. Trained researchers used an observation guide to document information about prescriptions that were picked up for children 7 to 17 years of age. Research assistants recorded: 1) when the prescription was picked up; 2) who picked up the prescription; 3) who was counseled by the pharmacist; 4) which pharmacy staff members interacted with the family; 5) pick-up location; 6) wait time; 7) how many questions the child or caregiver asked pharmacy staff; and 8) caregiver gender. Additional details such as the child's age, sex, and medication information were obtained from the prescription.

Results: One hundred sixteen prescriptions were dispensed to 97 families. Most families picked up prescriptions on weekdays (84%) and after school (53%). Fifty-four percent of prescriptions were refills, and most (38%) were for mental health conditions. Only 28 children (29%) accompanied their caregivers to pick up their prescription. Nineteen caregivers (20%) received counseling; children were never counseled separately by pharmacists. Families with younger children were more likely to receive counseling than older children (β = -0.28; P = 0.01).

Conclusion: Children infrequently accompany their parents to pick up their prescriptions, which limits pharmacists' opportunities to counsel children about their medications. Even when children are present, they rarely receive counseling from pharmacists.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Community Pharmacy Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Counseling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Education as Topic / statistics & numerical data*