Approximately 76% of seniors living at home, and 97% of residents in Healthcare institutions consume one or the other form of medication? One-third of Canadians over the age of 65 have over five or more prescriptions, and one quarter have ten or more! Pharmacists are an integral member of the healthcare team and play a broader role in seniors’ health care. They are readily accessible to offer advice and information about medications and monitoring their use. They also have discussions with the physicians and other healthcare providers to manage and improve drug care therapy and enhance the patient’s quality of life.
Jason Hoeppner, a seasoned Pharmacist, had graduated from the faculty of pharmacy in 2001. He worked for ten years in St. Boniface hospital in the Dept. of Pharmacy before starting his pharmacy “The Medicine Shop Pharmacy” in 2012. Jason also completed his advanced cardiology pharmacy practice program at the University of Toronto in 2008 and is also a certified diabetes educator.
There is a stigma around the pharmacist as someone who takes the pills out of the big bottle and puts them in a little bottle to hand them over to you. While they do fill out prescriptions, there is more to it. They are integral members of the healthcare team, and they need to work together with everyone as a team. They discuss treatment options with the physicians, with the nursing team and the homecare team too. They answer questions all the time concerning minor ailments, suggestions on cough, cold, travel, health concerns, pain, control, and various issues that people experience. Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare team members. You don’t need to make an appointment to see them, you can call them, or you can even walk into a pharmacy right away to ask a question. They have private consultations, and it is done with your confidentiality in mind.
Other than basically putting the pills in the bottles, slapping a label on it, and handing it to you, they have to make sure that there’s much checking that goes into it. They have to make sure that it is the right medication and the correct dose and that there’s no scope for serious interaction with other medicines that you might be taking. So, between getting your prescription and delivering the pills, a lot happens behind the scenes. Keep reading for information. Check out other articles for living a happy life.
Tips from a Pharmacist for Older Adults and Family Caregiver
Don’t miss out on the Health Benefits:
One of the free immunizations that the province offers through the pharmacists is pneumococcal. The pneumonia vaccine is recommended for anybody who’s above 65 or younger people living with various chronic health problems, kidney disease, lung disease, heart disease, and other conditions. Tetanus is another example. There are two different tetanus shots. There’s the regular TT, and there’s tetanus pertussis, which is for whooping cough.
Most people cannot remember when their last tetanus shot was. Hence the pharmacists screen them. So, these are the primary provincially funded vaccines that the pharmacists provide. In addition to that, with a prescription, they can give other immunizations as well. So, go and talk to your pharmacist and check with them what are the other things which are part of your health care system that you could take. Sometimes people just by not knowing miss out on the benefits of the healthcare systems.
It is essential to visit the pharmacist before you plan on traveling to any other state or country or another continent. It is advisable to visit a pharmacist a month before you have your traveling date because the shot has to introduce the vaccine to the immune system. Then the immune system starts to build antibodies to develop that immunity, which can take anywhere between two to four weeks. There will also be times when it is a last-minute plan, or it didn’t occur to you to get a shot. In such cases, you might be against it in terms of timeline. Instead of consulting the doctors, visit the pharmacist for the shot a month or two in advance. It’ll be one less thing to worry about.
When you go to a pharmacy carrying a prescription, you might not get the right medication every time. The medicines prescribed might not be the safest. Or the pharmacist might give you an alternative medicine, which is less likely to cause a problem. Hence, it’s all about communication and customer service. However, it’s not a matter of giving the customer what they want. As pharmacists, they try to provide you with good customer service. It also means that they won’t give you a particular medicine or medicines because of the harm it might cause. Pharmacists are extensively trained in keeping the patient’s or person’s health as a higher priority rather than just selling medicine.
You must let your pharmacist know if you are on any other medications than the ones they’re aware of. Medicines react with each other in the body, and if there are medications like that in your routine, you must be careful. You might not be aware of the side effects, but when you visit your pharmacist, let them know. Even if it is a natural medicine or vitamins or anything else, inform about them too.
It is a good idea for most people to have a personal pharmacist or a regular pharmacy. This would make sure they know your health history, have a list of medications you take and understand your issues with certain types of drugs. So, each time you go to the pharmacy, you don’t have to explain your medication history. Your pharmacist will know everything and take personal care each time you go to get your medicines, making it easier for you.
Don’t be shy about asking questions:
When you are taking your loved one for medical appointments or doctor’s appointment, or if that’s you who is going by yourself, remember that there is no harm in asking the alternatives for the medication prescribed. Most doctors do not get offended when asked in the right tone. It is always better to know what is going in your body than be in the dark. There is no harm in asking these questions because they are in the best interest of your loved ones, and you have all the right to do that.
It would be helpful for you to know if your pharmacist is a diabetes educator or a certified pharmacist in some field. They can identify that guidelines refer you to the appropriate healthcare professional if they don’t have the information. Even with diabetes, they would be aware of the guidelines and direct you and help you. The field may not be their expertise, but they would know enough to give a referral because of what they’ve understood in your case.
Being older, people can struggle with having a family doctor or a nurse practitioner to regularly keep a check on all your health concerns like screening for your diabetes now and then. There are different frequencies at which this should happen, but it is still essential. Being retired, you might not be able to find somebody in the interim. So, in this case, your pharmacist can try to connect you to the places where you can access that care. Coming to diabetes educators, you can sit down and learn about diabetes and how to care for it. A lot of diabetes care is obligatory on the person, on the patient, on the caregivers because it needs monitoring and making sure that you’re taking the medications properly.
Keep a Check:
For your benefit and your loved one’s benefit, if you’re on multiple medications, four or five, or more, you should review of those medications with your prescriber. You could also check if you could do that with your pharmacist. That’s the best starting point from there, and they can ensure that the right medications are there and you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. That is the best thing you could do with your pharmacist, and all your doubts and questions about your medicines can rest.
Your pharmacist can be your most significant help and mentor if you allow them to be. Have open communication with them and trust them on their advice. Your medication safety is their biggest priority. You can also check out the alternative treatment by Cannabis. (Link here).