Patients’ blood pressure knowledge, perceptions and monitoring practices in community pharmacies
Hypertension is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Despite this, patients often cannot or inaccurately estimate their risk factors.
Objectives: In order to improve pharmacist interventions, we sought to: 1) find out patients’ knowledge about blood pressure (BP) and their self- monitoring behaviors and 2) identify the relationships between these two elements. Specifically, if evaluation of BP control were related to knowledge of one’s BP level and self-monitoring habits, and if knowledge of one’s target and BP level varied with monitoring habits.
Methods: Final year pharmacy students were trained and interviewed patients in community pharmacies as a required exercise in their pharmacy clerkship. Each student recruited a convenience sample of 5-10 patients who were on hypertension medication, and surveyed them regarding their BP targets, recent BP levels as well as monthly and home BP monitoring practices.
Results: One third of the 449 patients interviewed were able to report a blood pressure target with 26% reporting a JNC 7 recognized target. Three quarters of patients who reported a blood pressure target were able to report a blood pressure level, with 12% being at their self- reported target. Roughly two thirds of patients perceived their BP to be “about right”, and slightly less than a third thought it to be “high”. Sixty percent of patients monitor their BP monthly, but less than 50% of patients practice home BP monitoring.
Conclusions: This study along with others before it point to the knowledge and self-management gaps in patients with chronic conditions. Furthermore, pharmacy students were able to use a brief intervention to screen patients during routine care. Pharmacists can help improve patient understanding and promote increased self-management through regular BP monitoring.
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