My blog post Please let me know how your pharmacy helps has generated lots of useful comments. As the next step in preparing the resource for pharmacists I’m working on with Action for M.E., I’m asking what you’d like to see in the resource as it’s important to me to have your views on it.
In those comments there are concerns that pharmacy staff may not be aware of our illness and understand things like symptoms fluctuating and how we may look well but aren’t. This has affected whether people felt comfortable in asking for help such as prescription deliveries.
It can be difficult to explain M.E. to someone we don’t know. When my symptoms aren’t too bad, I worry people won’t believe how bad it can get but then I’ll be suffering for the rest of the day after I’ve seen them. When my M.E. is bad, the very nature of the cognitive problems, or brain fog, make it hard to explain the help I need right then. Sound familiar?
There is very little information available for pharmacy professionals about M.E., so I think there’s a real need for a resource that provides evidence-based information, along with what M.E. is like for us to live with and the sort of advice and practical help we might need from a community pharmacy. M.E. isn’t currently covered in pharmacy education but one of my goals is to rectify this. We’d like to use the resource for training materials, talks and articles for pharmacists’ continued professional development.
I’m hoping you will be able to take a print version of the resource to see your pharmacist so that it will help you to talk to your pharmacy team about your M.E. Even if you don’t take any medication for managing some of your M.E. symptoms, you might have other long term conditions requiring you to take medication and find it useful for the pharmacy team to bear your M.E. in mind.
I won’t be including GET/CBT in the resource but I will have to refer to NICE Guideline CG53 because pharmacists use NICE guidelines for all sorts of conditions, amongst many other reference sources, to inform them for the clinical checking of prescriptions. I’ll also be using the recent IoM report and the new BACME guide, but only in relation to statistics, symptoms and medication.
There’ll be a brief section on health promotion for patients with M.E., as this is part of the pharmacy professional’s role. I’ll stress that encouraging exercise isn’t appropriate as we do as much as we safely can already, and that we have to use pacing as part of our illness management, as do patients with some other long term health problems.
So, other than the range of symptoms, levels of severity and medication for symptom management:
- What would you like your pharmacy professionals to know about M.E.?
- What sort of questions would you like them to be able to answer for you?
I’ve also asked pharmacy professionals the same question: What would pharmacy professionals like to see in a resource about M.E.?
If you’re unsure how a community pharmacist can help, a blog series I’m currently writing will give you more information about the sort of things pharmacists are educated on and what they do in their role in the primary healthcare team.
The deadline for submitting your suggestions is 26 October 2015. Although the comment sections on the blog posts will remain open after this date, from that point onwards we will be moving onto the next stage of developing the resource.