Most stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) survivors are asked to take medicines, which some can find difficult. However, taking the medicines prescribed after a stroke, or TIA, and following lifestyle advice can reduce the chance of another stroke by 80%.
Unfortunately, over 25% of stroke survivors do not continue these medicines, even for the first year after their stroke. Another 20% take less than is needed for the medicines to work.
Previous research suggests that some people who do not take their prescribed medicines have practical problems which act as a barrier to taking them, whilst others may just not want to take so many medicines. This research will use the views of stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) survivors to design a life-long medicines support service which will be provided by pharmacists.
The study will involve talking to stroke and TIA survivors who do not always take their medicines as prescribed, or those who feel burdened by their medicines. The first aim is to understand the views they hold and the problems they experience. This will include what sort of medicines support they would like, and when and where it should be provided. The study will investigate how they would feel if medicines support came from community pharmacists.
The study will also involve talking to health care professionals (HCPs) who care for stroke and TIA patients in hospital and in the community. A second aim is to find out what these HCPs understand about the problems faced by stroke and TIA survivors who have been asked to take a lot of medicines. What do these HCPs do if they find a patient not coping with their medicines, or not taking them, and what do they think about using pharmacists to provide medicines support?
This information will be used to design a tool (which could take the form of a series of questions) that can be used by patients, carers, and HCPs to identify what medicines support is needed for an individual stroke or TIA survivor.
Stroke and TIA survivors, together with HCPs and a technology expert, will then design a pharmacy support service that uses the tool. Different methods of providing medicines support will be investigated, for example using mobile phones and other technology, with the proposed service then being discussed with stroke, TIA survivors and HCPs to ensure it will work.
1 Februaray 2016