Training for community pharmacy to support people who are grieving

Wednesday 8th December 2021


In partnership with COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network, The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has developed an online training module designed to equip community pharmacists and pharmacy assistants with skills to better support people who are grieving.


The content for Supporting People with their Grief and Bereavement was written by subject matter experts from the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) and is now live.


PSA NSW Branch President, Chelsea Felkai, explained how this initiative supports pharmacists and pharmacy staff who are often the first primary care providers that these people come in contact with.


“Grief is a natural part of life, and for some people, it can be incredibly debilitating. Its intensity and longevity varies for each individual and everyone has unique coping mechanisms for managing the loss of a loved one,” she said.


“Pharmacy staff frequently come into contact with patients and or customers who are grieving, many of whom have lost someone close to them in recent weeks, days or even hours – often meaning they are the first point of contact.


“It’s upsetting to see a patient or customer break down in front of you, and for pharmacy staff who may have less experience in these scenarios, it can be quite confronting. In most cases, the individual just needs someone to listen and respond with compassion.


“As Australia’s most accessible healthcare provider, local pharmacists are well placed to assist these individuals – and through completion of this new training module, the profession will be better equipped to support them.”


Ms Felkai went on to discuss the module itself.


“Upon completion of the module, pharmacists and pharmacy assistants will be more perceptive when it comes to identifying someone who may be experiencing difficulty with their grief.


“The evidence-based training teaches appropriate communication strategies, enabling pharmacists to better converse with the individual – it also helps to identify suitable referral pathways for consideration if additional support is needed.


“As community pharmacists, our ability to connect with patients and customers is the crux of professional practice and this innovative training resource will ultimately raise the standard of pharmacist care across NSW.


“I strongly encourage all community pharmacists and pharmacy staff across NSW to undertake and complete this module,” Ms Felkai said.


To access the module, Supporting People with their Grief and Bereavement, please visit this link.



Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463