Clinical Pharmacy Intervention for Persons Experiencing Homelessness: Evaluation of Patient Perspectives in Service Design and Development

Pharmacy (Basel). 2019 Nov 13;7(4):153. doi: 10.3390/pharmacy7040153.


Persons experiencing homelessness have a high prevalence of severe mental health problems, alcohol dependence, substance misuse and infectious hepatitis C, and face up to twelve times higher mortality rates compared to the general population. They also face barriers to accessing healthcare. However, clinical pharmacy services are currently not available to homeless populations in England. The aim of this study was to conduct public involvement sessions with persons experiencing homelessness with a view to inform the design of patient-centred clinical pharmacy healthcare services. Qualitative methodology was used, using a focus group with homeless persons from emergency shelters and one to one engagement with those sleeping rough, using a topic guide. A total of nine homeless persons took part-seven males and two females. The participants of the sessions said that patient-centred clinical pharmacy services delivered for homeless persons would address many of their unmet needs around access to medicines, their understanding of prescribed medicines and holistic management of their health. The service would be able to make a positive impact on their health outcomes by screening for health conditions, facilitating better integration across services, referral and liaison with other services, and minimising misuse of prescribed medicines. The findings of this study will be used to inform the development, implementation and evaluation of a patient-centred clinical pharmacy service tailored to meet the specific needs of the homeless population.

Keywords: clinical pharmacy services; health inequality; homelessness; public involvement and engagement.