A physiotherapy-pharmacy partnership to move clients

April 7, 2009

Ambulatory assistive devices (AADs) include canes, crutches, and walkers. These products are often sold at pharmacies. However, it was unknown how competent pharmacists in Alberta were in providing education on fitting, safety, and use of AADs.

In fall 2007, researchers at the Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine partnered with ACP to study pharmacists’ knowledge and skills in working with AADs. You may remember the request ACP sent for pharmacists to complete an online survey about AADs. 

A total of sixty-eight pharmacists completed the online survey. The survey revealed that only 5% of respondents felt that their training was "definitely sufficient" in AADs. Over 70% of pharmacists could not describe how to fit an AAD, and over 50% could not describe how to use the AAD for ambulation.  

To fill this knowledge gap, five Master of Science in Physical Therapy students developed an online module to instruct pharmacists on fitting, usage and safety of canes, crutches and walkers. Five pharmacists agreed to complete the online training module and have onsite assessments by the students. The aggregate post module scores improved significantly (89%).

Currently, the module is being revised for accreditation and should be made available to pharmacists as part of a continuing education program. The researchers would like to thank the pharmacists who participated. They would also like to invite you to view the full study at the poster session of the tri-profession conference in Banff.

Originally published in the April 7, 2009, issue of The Link


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