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Medication administration via enteral feeding tube: a survey of pharmacists’ knowledge

Abstract

Background Medication administration to patients with an enteral feeding tube (EFT) is complex and prone to errors. Community pharmacists may be ideally placed to provide training and advice on this topic in individual patients as well as in institutions supplied by the pharmacy. Objective To assess community pharmacists’ knowledge on guideline recommendations regarding medication preparation and administration through EFT. Method Knowledge of guideline recommendations was assessed using a 15-item self-administered online questionnaire (April–June 2014). Questions reflected key aspects of guideline recommendations on medication administration via EFT. All graduated community pharmacists from the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium were eligible for participation. Results A total of 105 community pharmacists completed the questionnaire. Median self-perceived knowledge of medication administration via EFT was 2 (on a 0–10 scale). On average 5.2 (SD 2.6) out of the 15 questions were answered correctly. Strikingly, the ability to select suspensions in a list of liquid medications and knowledge on crushability of solid dosage forms were low. Conclusion Our findings demonstrate that pharmacists’ knowledge on correct medication administration via EFT is too limited to be able to provide good advice to EFT patients or their caregivers. Tailored training on this topic is needed.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the participating pharmacists.

Funding

This study was funded by Ghent University.

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Correspondence to Elke Joos.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Joos, E., Verbeke, S., Mehuys, E. et al. Medication administration via enteral feeding tube: a survey of pharmacists’ knowledge. Int J Clin Pharm 38, 10–15 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11096-015-0196-y

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Keywords

  • Belgium
  • Enteral feeding tube
  • Knowledge
  • Medication administration
  • Pharmacist