COMMUNITY HEALTH AGENTS AND THE COMPLEXITIES OF THE WORKING WITH PATIENTS USING MEDICINES

Abstract The community health agents are an important element in the management of medication information in primary healthcare setting, improving healthcare team interaction with the community. The aim of this study was to reveal how the use of medicines is present in the routine of agentes and understand the relationships established between agents, users and healthcare team. This is a quantitative and qualitative study, using participant observation, semi-structured interview and focus group. This study was conducted at three basic health units in a municipality of Minas Gerais, Brazil, between March, 2013 and February, 2015. The results show that agents constantly relate with patients who experience drug therapy problems and have doubts about the indication, effects, adverse drug reactions, among other. They perform some interventions directly with the patient, but usually they prefer to refer cases to the healthcare team. Some agents said recognizing the pharmacist as a reference on medicines, but the demand for this professional was low by the subjects of this study. We emphasize the importance of the agents training on medication use to instrumentalize them to recognize problematic situations, to develop interventions with the support of the healthcare team and to follow up patients using medicines.