BACKGROUND: Seamless and safe discharge of children from hospital requires successful collaboration with community pharmacists, for whom pediatrics is often a small part of their practice.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to understand community pharmacists' comfort level and confidence in providing care for children.
METHODS: We conducted a self-administered online survey of community pharmacists in Ontario, Canada. Respondents rated their comfort and confidence on a scale of 1 to 7 in each of 3 scenarios: oral morphine, prednisone, and amoxicillin. We also evaluated the relationship between participants' comfort level and demographics.
RESULTS: We included 622 responses (377 completed and 245 partially completed surveys). A total of 182 participants (48%) were female, 271 participants (72%) had children of their own, and they had practiced pharmacy for a median (interquartile range) of 19 (5–28) years. The percentage of respondents who were comfortable (5–7 on a 7-point scale) with filling the prescriptions as written was 64% for morphine, 58% for prednisone, and 61% for amoxicillin and was not different among the scenarios. Having children was associated with increased comfort (p = 0.02), whereas other demographic variables were not. Compared to the amoxicillin scenario, pharmacists reported being significantly more likely to choose another course of action for prednisone (p = 0.01) but not for morphine (p = 0.25). Although 428 pharmacists (70%) agreed that they maintained adequate knowledge of pediatric topics, 558 (91%) were interested in more education.
CONCLUSIONS: Variability exists in the confidence and comfort levels of community pharmacists when dealing with children, and many are not comfortable with the common prescriptions in this survey.