Community pharmacists and people with dementia: a cross-sectional survey exploring experiences, attitudes, and knowledge of pain and its management

Heather E. Barry, Carole Parsons, A. Peter Passmore, Carmel M. Hughes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


To explore community pharmacists' experiences with and attitudes towards people with dementia, and to determine the knowledge they have about pain and its management in this patient population. 

A questionnaire comprising five sections, including the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire, was mailed, on two occasions, during February and March 2011, to all community pharmacies in Northern Ireland (n=530). 

The response rate was 34.3%. A greater proportion of pharmacists provided pharmaceutical care to people with dementia living at home (91.2%) than those living in care homes (40.1%). Respondents most frequently encountered queries relating to starting and stopping medications, compliance with medication, and availability of formulation types. The mean total score for the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire measure was 72.8, indicating a positive attitude towards people with dementia, and respondents demonstrated a strong person-centred approach towards this patient population. The majority of respondents recognised the difficulty of assessing pain in people with dementia; however, younger pharmacists (p=0.041) and pharmacists who provided pharmaceutical care to people with dementia (p=0.012) were more likely to be aware of the pain assessment tools for use in people with dementia. Pharmacists appeared uncertain about how to appropriately manage pain in people with dementia.

The study has revealed that community pharmacists often encounter people with dementia, especially those living in their own homes, and they have positive attitudes towards the patient population. However, training in the assessment and management of pain in people with dementia must be developed to further improve their knowledge in this area. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1085
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number10
Early online date24 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


  • dementia
  • community pharmacists
  • older people
  • approaches to dementia
  • pain

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