Pharmaceutical care for patients with tuberculosis and diabetes mellitus in Malaysia: a complex intervention

Gnanasan, Shubashini (2012) Pharmaceutical care for patients with tuberculosis and diabetes mellitus in Malaysia: a complex intervention. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The increasing comorbid burden of tuberculosis (TB) and diabetes mellitus (OM) worldwide requires the management of all stakeholders including pharmacists. This raises the question whether current single disease management system fulfils patients' health needs and whether pharmacists could effectively play a role in enhancing the joint management of these two commonly associated diseases. Pharmacists have begun to provide pharmaceutical care through pharmacist-led medication therapy adherence clinics and clinical pharmacy services for several diseases and conditions (e.g. OM, asthma) in some public hospitals in Malaysia but are yet to be involved in the management of TB. The management of TB has been largely delivered through directly observed treatment (OOT) as high level of adherence to treatment is vital. However, little is known on how TB patients with OM are being managed and how these patients cope with their medication. The aim of this study was to develop a pharmaceutical care service for patients with TB and OM.

The first three phases (preclinical, phase 1 and phase 2) of the UK Medical Research Council framework for the development of complex interventions to improve health was applied to develop a pharmaceutical care service for patients with both TB and DM in a tertiary hospital in Malaysia. First, literature relating to TB and OM was reviewed (preclinical). Second, the pharmaceutical care needs of TB and DM patients were explored using semi-structured interviews with twenty patients, three physicians, three nurses, and a focus-group with four pharmacists (phase 1). Third, action research was conducted to assess the feasibility of providing a pharmaceutical care service for patients with TB and OM (phase 2). This study received ethical approval from the Medical Research and Ethics Committee (MREC), Ministry of Health, Malaysia.

Patients and health care professionals reported several medication-related issues in the phase 1 study. Patients were most inclined to discuss their concerns about their medication. Patients also tended to display different attitudes towards medication-taking, depending on their beliefs, the severity of illnesses, perceived efficacy of the treatment, and the severity of medication-related problems. The findings also revealed that many of these concerns had not been discussed with their physicians. This was also caused by the patients' and physicians' tendencies to prioritise the management of TB, and unintentionally neglecting other comorbidities especially when patients were primarily managed at the chest clinic. Other difficulties identified in comorbid management included delayed initiation of both TB and OM treatment, chest physicians' lack of confidence in managing 'difficult' OM in TB patients and the burden of attending multiple clinics for patients. Health care professionals believed that pharmacist-led medication therapy adherence clinics (MTACs) encouraged the provision of patient-centred care, enhanced pharmacist-patient communication, created opportunities for inter-professional interactions and could be used as a model to provide pharmaceutical care services. Health care professionals urged pharmacists to play a role in the management of TB and OM by providing patient education and counselling.

The phase 2 study revealed that the prevalence of OM in TB patients was 15%. Action research allowed the researcher, together with a hospital pharmacist, to identify pharmaceutical care needs in TB and OM patients, and fulfilled some of them. Pharmaceutical care issues identified included lack of medication adherence, poor management of OM, the need to manage adverse drug reactions, and the lack of frequent monitoring of certain monitoring parameters for TB, OM and other comorbidities at the chest clinic. Many patients had uncontrolled OM, however, many were more likely to be adherent to TB medication than medication of OM and/or other conditions. As a follow-up action, pharmacists advised these patients to place equal importance to TB and non-TB related management. Additionally, pharmacists also made treatment recommendations and referred patients to their chest physicians for further management of medication-related problems. Nevertheless, there were barriers that impinged the provision of pharmaceutical care service. The barriers include the lack of space with privacy to provide education and counselling to patients; the unavailability of medication records and other clinical information for comorbidities at the chest clinic; and the lack of time to develop inter-professional relationship. Despite the need to address the barriers, the provision of pharmaceutical care service to TB and OM patients was feasible as pharmacists were able to integrate TB and OM management by identifying, communicating, and resolving some medication-related problems.

In summary, this study provided the groundwork by conducting phase 1 and phase 2 study prior to developing a full-fledged pharmaceutical care service for TB and DM patients. Future work can be done to improve the service through critical analysis of the challenges faced in the developmental phase with the effectiveness of the service care plan assessed through a randomised controlled trial (RCT).

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Anderson, C.
Keywords: Pharmaceutical services in Malaysia, Patient-centred care, Pharmacist-patient communication
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Pharmacy
Item ID: 28429
Depositing User: Blore, Mrs Kathryn
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2015 11:08
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 13:12

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