Pandemic Planning for Primary Care: Developing an Integrated Response Framework for Family Physicians, Nurses, and Pharmacists
Primary care providers play an important role in pandemic response and recovery. Primary care nurses (PC-N; i.e. Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses and Licensed/Registered Practical Nurses) have been deployed from their routine responsibilities to take on pandemic-related roles, particularly in initiatives to care for marginalized populations. Building on our existing studies on family physicians and community-based pharmacists during COVID19, this project consists of two linked studies examining primary care pandemic responses across four regions in Canada: Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and British Columbia. First, in the PC-N Study, we will combine a document analysis with qualitative interviews with PC-N to describe PC-N pandemic roles and the facilitators and barriers to these roles; and compare and contrast these findings across the four regions. Second, in the Framework Development Study, we will develop program logic models for primary care pandemic plans that integrate the findings for PC-N, family physicians and community-based pharmacists. The project addresses theme #6 (Health Care Systems and Services) and will generate high-quality evidence to improve the management of COVID‑19 and enhance future pandemic preparedness. Individuals with complex chronic disease, mental health and substance-related health issues, and the elderly are particularly reliant on primary care to maintain their health during and following a pandemic. Primary care providers have played a central role in programs designed to improve access to care for marginalized populations. Innovations that emerged during the COVID19 pandemic to address marginalized populations need to be incorporated into pandemic plans to ensure that promising practices and lessons learned during the COVID19 pandemic are captured and used in the response to future pandemics.