Pharmacist Care - that’s what we do.
Interestingly, this term not only describes our empathy for our patients but also our activity within the broader context of healthcare.
This activity takes on many forms. It is a mistake that is made by most consumers of this service that the prescribed drug, in an appropriately labeled prescription vial is the sum total of the pharmacist’s work. In fact, that is maybe the “middle” of this complex process which becomes more and more complex as the drugs become more powerful and our understanding of the consequences of such potent drug action on the human patient expands. The comment “ignorance is bliss” certainly applied to the profession of pharmacy some twenty to thirty years prior to today. Fortunately for all of us, that ignorance has been replaced with a deeper understanding of drug action and how it impacts all human organ systems. As a result of this knowledge, pharmacists have become much more careful in their management of patient drug therapy, which has lead to our expanded authorities to act and becoming much more involved in the full spectrum of patient care.
In order to fill the prescription, the pharmacist must take care to interpret the physician’s prescription, which is his/her order for a drug-based treatment regimen, as one of the first steps. Pertinent patient information, if not already on file, must be added. This will include other medications currently taken, drug allergies, intolerance’s, medical conditions and any other information that is considered important to a successful therapeutic outcome.
The prescription is then prepared, whether it be in capsule or tablet or liquid dosage form. Even here it is important to provide a dosage form that will be compatible with the purpose and the patient. If there is a paediatric patient then a liquid or chewable tablet form might be the most appropriate. The product must be labeled with instructions that are clear and concise. Instructions that read “Take as directed” or “Use when needed” do not serve the patient well at all, even though many practitioner’s make the practice of writing prescriptions with such instructions to their patients.
Finally, the patient must be properly informed on how best to derive the benefits from the medication and minimize side effects or adverse effects. If other medications are being taken concurrently, then guidelines for taking more than one medication in the course of the day and/or night have to be made clear. Side effects and adverse effects that can be expected have to be explained. What to do if these effects should express themselves must be explained. How the medication should be taken in relation to meals is also important. Whether or not exposure to sunlight is a concern or whether water consumption should be increased. These represent only a few pieces of information that might be given to the consumer before leaving the pharmacy.
Our focus then is on those “cognitive” services that enhance the effectiveness of the drug treatment whether that be a prescribed medication or one of the many over-the-counter medications used to self-medicate minor illness or injury. This can only be done through a face-to-face interaction between pharmacist and consumer. When necessary, a private consultation office is available for use. As well, videos can be viewed in-store (or borrowed for home viewing) and a certain amount of computer assisted education can also be done.
Your Health…Your Medications… Talk to Your Pharmacist!
If you’re like millions of Canadians who’ve had a prescription filled this year, you’ve seen first hand just one of the many services your pharmacist provides. Your pharmacist can do much more for you than you’ve come to expect.
As the most accessible health care provider in the community, your pharmacist is often your first point of contact with the health care system and is an excellent source of information.
In addition to advice and information about the best way to take your medicine, your pharmacist can help you with a variety of other health concerns, including help with conditions such as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. He or she can provide sound, up-to-date advice on staying well and preventing disease. Your pharmacist can also help with lifestyle changes…for example, how to quit smoking.
Pharmacists work in many settings: in the community pharmacy, in hospitals, nursing homes, at the outpatient clinic or even online.
The Canadian Pharmacists Association reminds you that whenever you have questions about your medication or need help with your health care, talk to your pharmacist.
Talk to your pharmacist …about taking your medications properly
The benefits of working with your pharmacist are far-reaching.
An increasing number of Canadians are taking medication to control one or more chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma. Taking your medications properly allows these conditions to be managed, helping you feel better and minimizing long-term complications. Your pharmacist can also help you avoid or solve side effects from your medications.
New and advanced medications are becoming available every day. More medications are becoming available over the counter without the need for a prescription. When it comes to taking medicine properly and safely, the right information is essential for your good health.
The Canadian Pharmacists Association reminds you to talk to your pharmacist.
Looking for valuable family health resources?
Check out the Canadian Pharmacists Association web resources for consumers.
Alberta Pharmacists Association (RxA)
Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP)