The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and end-of-life charity Marie Curie have teamed up to create professional standards in palliative care for community pharmacy.

The organisations have invited community pharmacists and community pharmacy teams to give feedback on the draft standards via a confidential survey, to be completed by 1 December 2022.

The RPS said the standards had been developed in collaboration with an expert multi-professional steering group and with support from the RPS Community Pharmacy Expert Advisory Group.

Feedback would help ‘ensure the standards are clear, relevant, current and fit for purpose from the perspective of the community pharmacy team, the wider health team and patients’, it added.

The draft Community Pharmacy Quality Improvement Standards for Palliative and End of Life Care, termed ‘Daffodil’ Standards after the Marie Curie logo, are consistent with RCGP standards and will be available for individual pharmacists, including locum pharmacists, to sign up to, it said.

The standards include suggestions that community pharmacy can:

  • Ensure that their team understands their roles in end-of-life care and can confidently and effectively communicate with patients and carers.
  • Help identify any carers and their needs.
  • Share medicines information with patients and multi-disciplinary teams, and implement individual medication reviews and medicines optimisations.
  • Proactively manage medicines supply chain, for instance by holding or signposting to stock, to provide quality care during a patient’s last days of life.
  • Identify and advise or address (within their level of competence, or refer) any issues with medicines use and administration – for instance, recommending a liquid formula or patch if a patient was experience issues with swallowing.
  • Provide care after death by signposting to grief and bereavement support; stop repeat medicines supply and handle returned medicines compassionately and appropriately.

A 2021 survey by charity Macmillan Cancer Support found that 23% of people with advanced or terminal cancer in the UK have found it harder to access healthcare due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In January, Boots UK launched a palliative care service in its pharmacies to provide ‘accessible support’ to patients who are terminally ill.