The ASK Grants 2006
Support for On-going Ask About Medicines Activities
Last September Ask About Medicines, in partnership with Merck Sharp and Dohme Limited (MSD), launched the ASK grants, designed to support organisations and partners to develop their Ask About Medicines activities. We received more than 40 entries from a variety of partners including PCTs, community pharmacists, hospital pharmacists, GPs,communityhealthcare services,voluntary sector organisations and residential homes.

The quality of the entries and the plethora of innovative ideas to take forward Ask About Medicines activities throughout the year was fantastic. In January of this year we awarded 20 organisations with a grant worth £1,000 each to take forward a variety of very different projects. For more details of these projects please click here.

Feedback from the projects has been very positive; you can see an update report by clicking here.

Supporting activities about medicines and medicine taking, that empowers patients and encourages better dialogue with health professionals.
 

Ask About Medicines is pleased to announce the 20 successful applicants for the ASK Grants, organised by Ask About Medicines in partnership with Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited.

Activities included in the successful grant applications range from leaflets and online information through to counselling services and training days with medicine users in the local community. The grants cover activities carried out between Ask About Medicines Week 2006 and Ask About Medicines Week 2007 – which will run from 5-9 November 2007.

There were more than 40 applicants for the grants including PCTs, community pharmacists, hospital pharmacists, GPs, community healthcare services, voluntary sector organisations and residential homes.

The Successful Grant Applicants were:

Applications for the ASK Grants were judged by the Ask About Medicines Executive Committee based on a set of pre-agreed parameters also determined by the Ask About Medicines Executive

 

 

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The ASK Grants were developed by Ask About Medicines in partnership with Merck Sharp and Dohme.
 

 

Men's Health Forum

What is the Grant for?

An Ask About Medicines ‘frequently asked questions’ section on the Men’s Health Forum website dedicated to medicines related questions. The section will include information on where to get medicines advice, OTC medicines, dealing with side effects and the dangers of buying medicines online.  Where appropriate health professionals, such as pharmacists, will be invited to answer some of the questions.

Why is this important?

The internet is a popular way for men to find out more about health related topics and often men feel more comfortable about using online sources of information. The FAQ about medicines on the site www.malehealth.co.uk will increase men’s awareness and understanding of medicines and encourage help-seeking, better self-care and improved compliance.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Numbers of visitors to the Ask About Medicines FAQ pages will be monitored, assessing the questions that are visited most often. Feedback will be invited from visitors to the pages on whether their concerns have been addressed and whether they have other unanswered questions.

St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust

What is the Grant for?

To publicise the availability of the Trust’s Medicines Information (MI) Centre through posters, leaflets and cards which will go in every prescription issued from the Trust. The centre is staffed by trained pharmacists and will provide information about medicines to health professionals and to patients. The patient helpline element of the MI Centre is a new initiative. For the duration of Ask About Medicines Week a pharmacist will be based at the Trust’s Health Information Centre to answer questions about medicines.

Why is it important?

The MI Centre patient helpline will provide patients and members of the public living within the local area with the opportunity to receive objective, relevant and clear information on medicines through a convenient helpline and enquiry service.

How will we know it has made a difference?

The volume and nature of calls to the helpline will be recorded and callers will be asked for information on where they heard about the service and what further information requirements they may have. A pilot of the service is currently underway and an audit of the service will be conducted 3 months into the campaign to ensure that it is meeting its objectives.

GR Pharmacy (Birmingham)

What is the Grant for?

The development of in-store and take-away card style materials for parents on various childhood conditions and appropriate treatment approaches. The project will involve research through local practice nurses to identify the information needs of local parents, focus group meetings with local parents to assess preferred formats/materials and roll out of the materials.

Why is it important?

This project should provide local parents with the information and confidence to help them to be able to manage minor health problems themselves thereby reducing their dependence on GP out-of-hours and emergency services.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Involvement of local parents in focus groups is an important stage in the development of the information to ensure that the final materials are appropriate and have the best chance of being effective. Feedback will be requested as the project develops and more materials are produced.

Continence Advisory Service, Dudley

What is the Grant for?

An Information Prescription initiative for women with symptoms of urinary incontinence. Community or practice-based pharmacists will complete an information prescription when an anticholinergic drug is prescribed for treating urinary incontinence.

Why is it important?

As medicines are only one component of the treatment of urinary incontinence, information about the full range of available approaches to managing urinary incontinence will provide women with a holistic view on the best way to manage their condition.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Feedback on this initiative will be secured through patient satisfaction questionnaires. In addition, levels of participation in the scheme by GP surgeries and pharmacies will be assessed to measure whether the initiative is being rolled out effectively.

Moray Community Health and Social Care Partnership

What is the Grant for?

The development of a leaflet for parents about medicine syrups, providing advice on asking for sugar-free medicines (if available) and suggesting that children should brush their teeth after administration of the syrup. Community pharmacists will be encouraged to reinforce this message when handing over a prescription as part of the project.

Why is it important?

Particular areas of Moray have a higher than national average of dental caries in children. It is hoped that this initiative will help to improve oral health awareness amongst parents and ultimately reduce the amount of dental caries in the area.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Over the long term, the team will be able to measure the incidence of dental caries in the child population. Short term, the effectiveness of the activity will be judged by changes in prescribing patterns (i.e. the number of prescriptions of sugar-free syrups).

Brent Carers Centre

What is the Grant for?

The development and implementation of quarterly training sessions for carers about medicines, and support for the attendance of a pharmacist at one session per year for the 10 carer support groups based at the Centre.

Why is it important?

Carers often give and monitor the medicines that are used by the person they care for so they need to know about how the medicines should be given, what side effects there might be and what effect the medicines may have. Carers can often be reluctant to ask health professionals about medicines as they are afraid it will be seen as a sign that they cannot cope – so courses that help carers understand more about medicines could help give them confidence to ask more questions about medicines.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Carers will be asked to complete an evaluation form at the end of the training to assess the quality of the session and their new level of confidence in administering and asking questions about medicines.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HOENHSFT)

What is the Grant for?

The production of a Medicines Information Card to promote a pharmacist medicines counselling service on elderly care wards in the Birmingham Heartlands Hospital.

Why is it important?

A stay in hospital can often mean that a patient is given new or different medicines to the ones they are used to taking. The project will help to improve patient understanding of their medicines during an in-patient stay and on discharge from the hospital. Increased patient counselling by pharmacists will provide an ideal opportunity for one-on-one answers to questions about medicines.

How will we know it has made a difference?

The programme and materials will initially be tested with a small sample of patients and health professionals including pharmacists, doctors, nurses, occupational therapists and social workers. Ongoing monitoring will provide feedback on the success of the project.

Northamptonshire Primary Care Trust

What is the Grant for?

To purchase display boards and leaflet stands to be used at a series of open days and events with local organisations such as Age Concern, Northamptonshire Association for the Blind and the Northampton Bangladeshi Association.

Why is it important?

This activity will raise awareness of issues around the use of medicines among patients, carers, the public and health professionals, thereby empowering patients to take responsibility for their own care and use services more appropriately.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Attendance at the stands/events will be recorded to see how many people the messages have reached and the uptake of materials will be monitored. Feedback from team members staffing the stands will highlight the sort of advice people are looking for and provide guidance on the sort of materials that should be displayed.

Worthing & District Carers Liaison Service

What is the Grant for?

The development of three training sessions on ‘Understanding Medicines – A guide for carers and older people’ including an information booklet to accompany the training sessions. The sessions will target carers through a local carers day, the Alzheimer’s Society and the Healthy Living Centre. In addition the information booklet will be mailed to over 2,000 carers registered with the Carers Liaison Service.

Why is it important?

Carers are often the gatekeepers of a person’s medicines and need to be informed about how to administer medicines safely. This initiative will provide information about medicines to older people and carers, encourage them to ask questions about medicines and strengthen relationships with local pharmacy staff and local volunteer organisations.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Initial feedback on the content of the sessions will be secured from an evaluation form that attendees will be required to complete after the training event. A second evaluation form will be sent to attendees 3 months after the session to assess how the training may have made a difference to the way they use medicines and approach any further information requirements.

Medication Information and Support Service, Northumberland Care Trust

What is the Grant for?

The grant will support the Medication Information & Support Service (MISS),which aims to reach people who do not use existing services for medication information and support to help them understand their medicines (including over-the-counter and complementary treatments), and includes a home visit service to housebound medicine users.

Why is it important?

Many elderly and vulnerable adults in the Northumberland area have concerns or anxieties relating to medication use and are not currently accessing existing support services for information and support on medicines. This initiative will help these people to better understand their medicines and provide them with information or access to someone who can help them with questions about medicines.

How will we know it has made a difference?

The service will provide monthly reports to the Medicines Management Team detailing uptake of the service, types of problems discussed and outcomes from the visits. A six month evaluation of the service will provide a longer term perspective and help inform a possible expansion of the service to other parts of Northumberland.

Brain and Spine Foundation

What is the Grant for? 

The launch and dissemination of an Information Access Toolkit – a web-based toolkit designed to support health and social care professionals in their information provision role and thereby improve access to information for people with neurological conditions and their carers.

Why is it important? 

The National Service Framework (NSF) for Long–term Conditions stresses that patients "should have the information they need to make informed decisions about their care and treatment and, where appropriate, to support them to manage their condition themselves". People affected by neurological conditions, however, consistently report that they do not receive the information they need to enable them to manage their condition and access support and advice available.

How will we know it has made a difference?

A pilot of the tool kit will provide valuable user feedback to ensure that the final toolkit meets the needs of health professionals. Ongoing feedback from health professionals around England will provide a longer term perspective on the project.

 Project Update

The toolkit was launched on 15th March 2007 during Brain Awareness Week and can be found on the Brain & Spine Foundation website at http://www.brainandspine.org.uk/information/information_access_toolkit/index.html

 

Joan Hartley, Cambridge

What is the Grant for?

The roll out of medicines information sessions for deaf people in East Anglia including a presentation on medicines and ‘question & answer’ session with a local pharmacists assisted by a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.

Why is it important?

The deaf community is a minority group for whom English is a second language. This community will benefit from medicines information and the opportunity to ask questions using British Sign Language.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Attendance at the sessions will be recorded and deaf people will be invited to provide their feedback on the sessions by way of a short evaluation form. The activity has already been piloted successfully in the Cambridge area.

Blood Pressure Association

What is the Grant for?

The grant will be used to support the revision of the BPA’s booklet on Medicines for High Blood Pressure with input from hypertension specialists, health professionals in primary care (GPs and practice nurses) and the BPA User Groups (people with high blood pressure). The revised booklet will be distributed to BPA members, health professionals and will be made available online.

Why is it important?

The booklet Medicines for High Blood Pressure is in need of urgent revisions to take into account new guidelines on the management of high blood pressure which highlight the importance of combinations of medicines to manage the condition. A revision of the booklet also allows feedback from users to be taken into account and used to inform the new booklet.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Feedback forms will be included within the new booklets inviting users to let the BPA know what they think of the new information. Monitoring distribution and requests for the booklet will indicate the popularity and demand for the resource.

Brights Chemists Ltd (Nuneaton Branch)

What is the Grant for?

The development of an ‘Ask your pharmacist about eczema’ programme – including face-to-face discussion between the pharmacist and patient on the best way to manage eczema and how to use treatments for the condition effectively.

Why is it important?

Many patients and parents of children with eczema are unaware of how to control eczema and use emollients and steroid creams effectively. There is often a lack of time to spend with patients finding the most appropriate emollient. Information provided face-to-face in the pharmacy setting could help to address this information gap.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Patients collecting prescriptions for eczema treatments, and who have received further information from the pharmacist, will be encouraged to feed back on how the condition is currently controlled and the number of eczema flare-ups experienced.

Help the Aged

What is the Grant for?

The grant will support the re-print of Help the Aged’s Managing Your Medicines information leaflet which is endorsed by the Community Services Pharmacists group (CPS) and approved by the BMA, Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Royal College of General Practitioners. Over 300,000 copies have been distributed and requests continue to come in for the resource. The reprint will allow for the content to be reviewed and updated.

Why is it important?

Older people are the heaviest users of prescription drugs: a Department of Health survey showed that 48% of prescriptions dispensed in one year went to older people. Changes in medication for older people are common and can cause confusion. Help the Aged is the only charity for older people to produce a leaflet on this subject.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Help the Aged will track how the leaflets are distributed or downloaded from the internet site. Feedback on the leaflet will be secured through regular focus groups conducted with older people to ensure that the information is relevant and has an impact on the way the focus group participants manage their medicines

Dudley South PCT

What is the Grant for?

To support the development of a medicines and health information programme, including blood pressure testing, with black, minority and ethnic communities. Presentations will be carried out in local community centres and familiar meeting places (e.g. mosques) using the local community and PCT pharmacists with the required language skills.

Why is it important?

Being able to speak to patients about medicine taking in their own language and in the community setting will provide communities with information and advice to which they might otherwise not have had access.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Attendance at sessions and number of individual consultations carried out by the pharmacist will be measured. In order to establish whether the sessions have made a difference or met the needs of the community, participants will be contacted by telephone 4 weeks after the session and asked for their feedback using an evaluation form.

Inspirability

What is the Grant for?

The production and distribution of Medication Chart (a resource developed by Inspirability to help people monitor and manage their medicines) through local pharmacies and via a dedicated section on the Inspirability website where copies of the chart can be downloaded.

Why is it important?

The Medication Chart will enable people who have a long term condition, including those with chronic pain, to analyse how they take their medicines and, with the guidance of health professionals, adapt the timings to get the most effective form of relief where possible.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Support for the Medication Chart will be assessed by monitoring distribution through local pharmacies and tracking downloads from the website. Feedback from Inspirability course participants will show how the Chart has made a difference to the management of their medicines.

The Allergy Show

What is the Grant for?

The provision of an Ask About Medicines stand staffed by a nurse or pharmacist at The Allergy Show, being held in June 2007. The stand will allow visitors to the show to ask questions about medicines used to manage common allergies, eczema, asthma and hay fever.

Why is it important?

The Allergy Show is visited by 10,000 members of the public. Growing numbers of people take medicines to help control their allergies and associated conditions, and it is important that they are encouraged to ask questions about their medicines.

How will we know it has made a difference?

Numbers of visitors to the stand will be recorded in addition to feedback on the most common questions asked. A feedback form on the stand will help to provide a deeper understanding of the concerns and questions people with allergies may have about medicines.

Halton and St Helens PCT

What is the Grant for?

A public health campaign to increase awareness about the appropriate use of antibiotics using posters and leaflets produced using the ‘Moxy Malone Antibiotic Detective’ theme. Posters will be displayed in surgeries and community pharmacies, and leaflets will be distributed to patients via repeat prescriptions over the winter 2006/2007 period.

Why is it important?

Halton and St Helens PCT is one of the highest prescribers of antibiotics in the North West. Many members of the public mistakenly believe that antibiotics are necessary to treat common illnesses such as a cold or sore throat and expect that they will receive a prescription for an antibiotic following the consultation. The campaign is designed to manage patients’ expectations and reduce the rate of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

How will we know it has made a difference?

The success of the campaign can be measured by using prescribing data – identifying the volume of antibiotics prescribed by GPs and the PCT as a whole, comparing the figures year on year to identify the impact the campaign has made.

Migraine Action Association (MAA)

What is the Grant for?

The development of a survey of people who have migraines to gain a better understanding of how they use medication to treat or prevent attacks and the extent to which they understand the medicines they are using. The survey will be used to help develop an educational campaign to run during Migraine Awareness Week (2nd-8th September 2007).

Why is it important?

Migraine affects approximately 15% of the UK population and it is thought that as many people with migraines self-medicate as visit the GP for help. A small study revealed that of those people who visit the GP with a headache, as many as 20% are treated for overuse of medication. It is important, therefore, to have a clearer picture of how people who have migraines are using medicines and treating the condition.

How will we know it has made a difference?

The number of competed questionnaires will determine the success of the project, with an aim of receiving at least 1,000 responses. The response rate will be assessed in April to determine if a further promotional push is required to encourage more completed questionnaires.

 
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