THE DELIVERY OF NUTRITION INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES IN COMMUNITY PHARMACIES, A PILOT PROJECT
Main text: Introduction Community pharmacists (CPs) provide expert and accessible services for people with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Services may include nutritional advice however it is unknown to what extent this is provided in practice. The aim of the project was to pilot a questionnaire that explored the role of pharmacists in giving nutritional advice for people with T2DM. Ethics approval was obtained from the University of Hertfordshire. Methods An online ad hoc questionnaire exploring CPs’ perceived role in the delivery of nutritional advice, the format and frequency of the advice and the sources of nutritional information, was developed and pre-piloted with CPs. Two hundred CPs working in one county in England were emailed a link to the questionnaire and given three weeks to respond. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. Results All 16 CPs who responded saw people with T2DM at least daily. They only sometimes gave nutritional advice, taking the form of a general conversation about food. A lack of knowledge was the main barrier to giving advice. Five respondents gave written information and 12 recommended written nutritional information, mainly from a national diabetes charity. Most CPs did not refer people with T2DM to a dietitian as they were not aware that they were able to do so and most had not received any nutritional training. Conclusions, discussion and/or practical application This was a small study aiming to pilot an online questionnaire with CPs. The low numbers of respondents compared to the number of potential respondents suggests that the method of administration of the questionnaire may need review for future projects. This research has confirmed the accessibility of CPs to people with T2DM and thus their potential in supporting their nutritional management. However CPs may need guidance in accessing appropriate resources, in signposting patients to appropriate sources of nutrition information including dietitians and nutrition training.