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Who are the ostomy patients and caregivers attending Portuguese community pharmacies? A cross-sectional study

Background In 2017, ostomy patients gained access to ostomy products in community pharmacies that are fully reimbursed by the Portuguese National Health Service. This impacted the daily lives of people with ostomy and opened a new market of products and services for pharmacies. However, little is known about the sociodemographic and clinical profile of ostomy patients. This study aims to characterize people with ostomy and their caregivers, evaluate access and satisfaction with the pharmacy and explore participants' expectations regarding services and counselling. Methods This was an observational, cross-sectional, multicentre study involving pharmacy users who acquired ostomy products in Portuguese community pharmacies. Data were collected through a confidential self-report questionnaire between June and August 2019. Results Approximately 56% of the participants were ostomy patients, of whom 65.9% were men. The average age of participating ostomy patients was 65.5 years old (SD = 12.9), and near 80% were retired/pensioners. Caregivers were mostly women (81.7%). More than half of the caregivers were employed and acquired products for a direct family member. Three in every four surgical interventions were consequences of cancer. Intestinal ostomy was the most common intervention (78.3%). More than 93% were satisfied with the acquisition of ostomy products at the pharmacy. Approximately 48.2% of ostomy patients received care from a specialized nurse. Conclusion This study describes the profile of people with ostomy and their caregivers who attend community pharmacies in Portugal. Participants' perceptions of the utility of different proposed services and pharmacist knowledge, as well as the low coverage of ostomy nursing care, highlight the opportunity for an extended role of pharmacists among this group.

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Type of Reference
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Journal article
BioMed Central
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BMC Health Services Research
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