BCPP between MediCare Pharmacy Group & Brain Injury Matters
MediCare Pharmacy Group has recently completed a Level 3 BCPP, partnering with charity ‘Brain Injury Matters’, for the third consecutive year. Brain Injury Matters is a charity dedicated to supporting people with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).
Northern Ireland has the highest rate of acquired brain injury in the UK. Causes of brain injury can include meningitis, stroke and road traffic accidents. In the majority of circumstances the cause of the brain injury is a sudden and unexpected event yet the impact to the person and their carers is significant and long term. Brain Injury Matters supports those with an acquired brain injury to rebuild their lives and reach their full potential in the community. With this in mind a varied programme was developed for participants from the age of twenty years old and above.
The focus of sessions led by MediCare Pharmacy Group was preventing and managing mental health issues. People with an ABI may experience a range of psychiatric symptoms, such as depression, anxiety disorders, mood disorders or panic disorder. The incidence of these is higher than in the general public.
Through a series of interactive discussions Medicare Pharmacist, Rebecca, explored the reasons why mental health is affected after a brain injury- perhaps from the physical injury to the brain itself, or adapting to life post ABI. The aim was to highlight the rationale for such reactions, with participants sharing their own experiences with others through group discussion, and obtaining reassurance from peers.
Rebecca tailored discussions around medications relevant to the group participants – exploring why they were prescribed, the medicine and common side effects. There was an opportunity for one-to-one discussion with the pharmacist to deal with any medication questions and for a more detailed medication review. As stroke is a leading cause of ABI, First Aid advice was provided in how to recognise signs of a stroke, building on the ‘Act FAST‘ public health campaign. Similarly, participants are at higher risk of a seizure after a brain injury, thus the group considered what to do should one of their colleagues have such an episode. Other pharmacy sessions focussed on using the pharmacy as a first port of call for help regarding medical advice. This included promotion of the minor ailments scheme, smoking cessation scheme as well as other services such as BP checks, administration of flu vaccines and medicine use reviews (MURS) for diabetes and asthma.
Managing poor mental health through medication is only one aspect of improving mood. Music therapy sessions were vital to the promotion of positive mental health, with bimonthly sessions led by Community Musician, Seonaid Murray. Using their voices and playing percussion instruments, participants were able to relax and express themselves while recreating popular and well-known music.
Other activities promoted through the BCPP to encourage positive mental health included arts workshops, education, physical activity and healthy lifestyle. This was supported by a number of organisations, which included Rebound Physio, Disability Sport and dieticians from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust who led interactive sessions.
BCPP evaluation has shown that the project had a positive effect on engaging participants to discuss mental health problems. It also reinforced the role of the pharmacist as an accessible health-care professional, available for a advice on a range of ailments and topics, and to signpost to other organisations and support groups when required.