Outreach programmes are a great way to increase the presence of a pharmacy within the community, as well as enhance public awareness. Patient education is important to improve confidence with medications, understanding of diseases and communicating with health providers.

Such programmes are effective in providing services and catering to the population who may otherwise not have access to the services offered by the pharmacy. Additionally, it gives an opportunity for pharmacists and staff to interact closely and be directly involved with the community outside the pharmacy setting.

Here are 5 community outreach ideas that community pharmacies can conduct.

1. Organise an event

Events such as workshops, educational carnivals and road shows are a great platform that opens up an engaging opportunity for community members to learn. These events may be tailored to community members of a certain age group or include patient-specific programmes to develop awareness about a particular illness or health condition. Activities that can be conducted include health screenings, personalised consultation, interactive educational sessions, as well as talks and competitions.

2. Participate in existing community events and campaigns

Besides organising large-scale events, community pharmacies should also take the advantage to reach the community by participating in existing community events such as health fairs or wellness events. This can be done by setting up a booth or kiosk with games and goodies for visitors. Being part of community campaigns such as environmental, mental awareness, or no-smoking campaigns are also a great opportunity to show your commitment as well as encourage community participation.

3. Collaborate with established organisations/institutions

Close collaboration with established health and educational organisations and NGOs is another means to help community pharmacies to reach the public better. Working together with organisations that tailor to specific groups such as cancer foundations, heart foundations or women’s health society for instance, is a good pathway to be an advocate for such causes to serve specific groups of people in the community. Establishing a meaningful partnership with different organisations can lead to a group effort in launching initiatives such as health campaigns or charitable activities to benefit the community.

4. Gain media exposure

In the age of information, media is one of the most powerful and effective platforms to disseminate knowledge and information to the public. Other than hitting the neighbourhood malls to promote events and create awareness, using various media platforms to disseminate knowledge and information can be a good opportunity to reach out to the community.

This requires knowledge of the current pharmacy-related issues and trends so that the content would appeal to readers and viewers. It is also a great opportunity to let the audience know about the significant role of pharmacists in serving the community.

5. Home visits

Certain segments of the population may not have the opportunity to attend community events or have easy means to visit the pharmacy to obtain services, products and request consultation. For this reason, home visits to places such as senior care homes by pharmacists and other employees is a great idea for an outreach programme.

These home visits allow the community pharmacy to extend their services to the frail and elderly as well as those who are mobility challenged. Furthermore, pharmacists can use this opportunity to educate patients on matters such as adherence and ensuring better outcomes from safe and proper use of medication at home. MIMS

Read More:
Community pharmacies and GPs: Complements, not rivals
How community pharmacies can better accommodate the needs of disabled patients
Career as a community pharmacist: What does it entail?

Sources:
DeRemer, Christina E. et al. “Pharmacy Outreach Education Program in Local Community.” American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 72.4 (2008): 94. Print.
Salma Khalik. “Pharmacists’ role to be expanded as population ages: Minister”. AsiaOne. SPH Digital News/AsiaOne Group, 7 May 2015. Web. 17 Feb 2017.