In collaboration with VAD (Voice of Albertans with Disabilities) and the University of Alberta’s department of pharmacy, I conducted an 8 month long research and development project centered around improving pharmacist to patient interactions.
The project first started as a group, with 3 pharmacy students and myself. We had to research and create a proposal for a concept that I would develop a prototype for in the last 4 months of the project’s timeline. Our project’s design brief was to improve interactions between pharmacists and patients with disabilities through communication tools.
We conducted surveys that went out to pharmacy students and practicing professionals, as well as conducted interviews with people with disabilities. We found that patients that had physical disabilities had no issue with communicating with pharmacists, but patients with developmental disabilities did not feel comfortable communicating with healthcare professionals.
We decided that a module for pharmacists that is integrated into their mandatory continuing education courses would be the best option to introduce better communication strategies for patients with disabilities.
In the last half of my project timeline, I researched disability and pedagogy to develop an educational tool for pharmacists. The prototype I developed came in 3 parts, that corresponded with an education model I also developed (READ, refer to the first image to the left).
The first component was an educational resource I designed with condensed information that I discovered in my research, and communication strategies provided by VAD.The second component comprised of response sheets that a pharmacist can use as practice for responding to certain scenarios where the communication strategies and information they learned from the resource would be useful. The final component asks the pharmacist to develop their own definition of care for their patients. After filling out this response sheet, they can use this a reference or model for their healthcare practice.
The research component for this project was done in collaboration with Lindsey Spruyt, Janet Lee, and Sally Heung.