Background Inspired by the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, which is a major point of reference also for the “Compassionate Communities”, we would like to propose that communities consolidate various settings like schools, workplaces, and health care organisations like community pharmacies, all of which might be included in a compassionate communities approach.
Aim We aim at enabling community pharmacies to offer informal consulting and support for people with dementia and their informal caregivers. Furthermore we want to support pharmacies to reach out in the community through various activities. By this means the project seeks to contribute to de-stigmatising dementia.
Method The project is based on the approach “Participatory Health Research” (Hockley, Froggatt, Heimerl 2013; Wright et al . 2010). The core elements of the approach are participation, action and reflection. Approximately 40 staff (almost exclusively women) in 18 community pharmacies actively participates in the project, i.e. needs assessment, interactive workshops, practice projects and evaluation. People with dementia and their informal care givers are included in the needs assessment and in different steps of the programme.
Results Community pharmacy staff raised several issues, closely related to communication, counselling and providing advice in a community pharmacy setting: They believe further development of professional practice to be important, since dementia care will become a more prominent issue for the community pharmacy. Moreover, a high frequency of contact with people living with dementia and their caregivers was reported by the majority of staff. Professional competencies related to dementia care are a key issue, and community pharmacy personnel viewed their practice with a critical eye: Communicating with disoriented persons poses some challenges, as does communicating with caregivers.
Conclusion In the still ongoing project the raised issues are being dealt with in practice projects that are performed by the pharmacies with the support of the project staff. Several projects reach out to the community through self-help groups, cinema performances, public presentations and discussions. Informal care givers have engaged in direct contact with the included pharmacies and become part of selected practice projects. People with dementia have been included in the needs assessment and the design of the project logo.
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