Perceived roles and barriers in caring for the people who are homeless: A survey of UK pharmacists

Vibhu Paudyal (Corresponding Author), Kathrine Lesley Gibson Smith, Katie MacLure, Katrina Forbes-McKay, Andrew Radley, Derek Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Background Community pharmacists can be an accessible source for advice and support for the people who are homeless, given their utilisation of a variety of currently available services such as dispensing of medicines, drugs and alcohol services. Objective To determine community pharmacists’ training, experiences and behavioural determinants in counselling and management of homeless population. Setting UK community pharmacies. Method A questionnaire based on literature and theoretical domains framework was mailed to randomly sampled community pharmacies in England and Scotland (n = 2000). Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Main outcome measures Pharmacists’ perspectives, pharmacists’ training, pharmacists’ experiences and behavioural determinants. Results A total of 321 responses (RR 16.1%) were received. Respondents indicated lack of knowledge, skills, intentions as well as contextual factors such as lack of guidelines impacted on their counselling and management of homeless patients. Less than a third (n = 101, 32.2%) indicated that they knew where to refer a homeless patient for social support. Broaching the subject of homelessness was outside their comfort zone (n = 139, 44.3%). Only four (1.2%) respondents could correctly answer all knowledge assessment questions. Conclusions Community pharmacist identified lack of education, training opportunities and guidelines in counselling and management of homeless patients. Targeting community pharmacists’ knowledge, skills and intention to provide care to the homeless patients may enable addressing health inequality through community pharmacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-227
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

We would like to acknowledge Louise Pelosi, Rachael Shuttleton, Olivia McLaughlin and Clair Reid for survey administration and data input.

This research was funded by Robert Gordon University. The funder had no role design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript.


  • Community pharmacist
  • Community pharmacy
  • Counselling
  • Homeless
  • Signposting
  • United Kingdom
  • Pharmacists/psychology
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Homeless Persons/education
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Community Pharmacy Services/standards
  • Counseling/methods
  • United Kingdom/epidemiology
  • Professional Role/psychology
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Perception
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Aged


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