Background and Importance Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic drug distribution in the Hospital St. John of God, Linz, has been switched to automated unit dose packaging. We intended to create evidence for patients’ satisfaction with pharmacy delivered blister sachets, as literature on this topic is limited and our service is so far unique in Austrian hospitals.
Aim and Objectives We performed a patient satisfaction survey to investigate the status quo as well as potential needs for improvement and to provide the basic data for further analyses.
Material and Methods Patients were interviewed inhouse with an internally developed questionnaire. Its mixed design – 12 multiple-choice questions and fields for comments – enabled quantitative and qualitative findings.
Patients not familiar with the blister medication (e.g. no oral drugs) or not (mentally) fit enough were excluded. Within a period of two weeks hospital pharmacists carried out 38 face-to-face interviews.
Results Patient satisfaction with the blisters was high; Transparency in administered drug therapy was considered important. Patients not or rather not satisfied stated difficulties in handling the blisters (20%). Poor physical conditions, vision deficiency and higher age correlated with utilisation problems and lower satisfaction. One in 10 patients had not been capable of opening the blister sachets and taking the medication without assistance. Two-thirds found unit dose drug distribution preferable or equal to traditional pill dispensers. Some patients commented on the environmental effects of the plastic sachets.
Responding to the reported difficulties we placed infographics in the patient rooms illustrating the labelling and handling of the unit dose sachets. The staff on the wards were trained to give further information to patients and assistance in opening and emptying the blisters.
Conclusion and Relevance Studies on the effects of unit dose supply usually focus on cost-effectiveness, medication safety and nursing staff time and satisfaction. Our results add information on the patient perspective and were important for quality improvement: This pilot study not only allowed for immediately implemented actions (graphic depictions for patients and staff training) but is also a guidance for the design of a larger study (patient selection, interview technique, reliable and valid questions) to obtain sufficient statistical power and quantifiable and actionable data.
Conflict of Interest No conflict of interest.