OBJECTIVES: Patients who are no longer eligible for curative treatment often suffer from multiple complaints and require a multidisciplinary treatment approach. We incorporated two pharmacists in the palliative team, one hospital pharmacist and one pharmacist who were trained as a community pharmacist. The objective of our study was to evaluate their contribution to the palliative team.
METHODS: During 13 months, the two pharmacists participated in all regular patient reviews and rounds and were available for individual consultation by all members of the palliative team on a daily basis. Each intervention (consults at request or during the patient rounds) was logged and categorised.
KEY FINDINGS: During the study period, 115 patients were under the care of the palliative treatment team. The pharmacists were actively involved in 107 of these (93%). Pharmacists interventions occurred in 76% of patients, with an average of 1.5 interventions per patient. The most common intervention types were giving general therapeutic advice, starting of a drug for an uncontrolled symptom and stopping a drug that was given as prophylaxis. When comparing the contribution of the hospital pharmacist and the outpatient pharmacist, their interventions overlapped with regard to starting drugs, choice of drugs and side-effect management. However, interventions on parenteral drugs or optimising the route of administration mostly came from the hospital pharmacist, whereas the outpatient pharmacist more often intervened in increasing adherence and stopping drugs.
CONCLUSION: The palliative pharmacist team adds expertise to the palliative treatment team, with an active contribution in 76% of patients.