Medication management of febrile children: a qualitative study on pharmacy employees' experiences

Jacqueline P. G. Stakenborg, Eefje G. P. M. de Bont*, Kirsten K. B. Peetoom, Marjorie H. J. M. G. Nelissen-Vrancken, Jochen W. L. Cals

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background While fever is mostly self-limiting, antibiotic prescription rates for febrile children are high. Although every parent who receives a prescription visits a pharmacy, we have limited insight into pharmacy employees' experiences with these parents. Pharmacy employees do however exert an important role in ensuring children receive correct dosages and in advising parents on administration of antibiotics. Objective To describe pharmacists' and pharmacy assistants' experiences with parents contacting a pharmacy for their febrile child, and to identify ways of improving medication management of these children. Setting Community pharmacies in the Netherlands. Method A qualitative study including 24 Dutch pharmacy employees was conducted, performing four focus group discussions among pharmacy employees. Analysis was based on constant comparative technique using open and axial coding. Main outcome measure Pharmacy employees' experiences with parents contacting a pharmacy for their febrile child. Results Three categories were identified: (1) workload and general experience, (2) inconsistent information on antibiotic prescriptions, (3) improving communication and collaboration. Pharmacy employees experienced that dosing errors in antibiotic prescriptions occur frequently and doctors provide inconsistent information on prescriptions. Consequently, they have to contact doctors, resulting in a higher workload for both stakeholders. They believe this can be improved by providing the indication for antibiotics on prescriptions, especially when deviating from standard dosages. Conclusion Pharmacy employees experience a high amount of dosing errors in paediatric antibiotic prescriptions. Providing the indication for antibiotics in febrile children on prescriptions, especially when deviating from standard dosages, can potentially reduce dosage errors and miscommunication between doctors and pharmacy employees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1200-1209
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • Anti-bacterial agents
  • Child
  • Community pharmacy
  • Fever
  • Netherlands
  • Prescription

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