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Role of Family Pharmacists in Managing Chronic Conditions

August 1, 2023

Family pharmacists regularly have one-on-one relationships with patients with chronic condition. They see the patients frequently in between doctor visits, and are intimately familiar with their health and medication.

They are critical healthcare providers, having the face time and opportunities to monitor and advise patients with chronic diseases, to help prevent adverse health outcomes.

Chronic diseases are a critical health problem. If not managed properly, complications or a deteriorating condition create even more serious health issues that may require hospitalization. Patients with chronic diseases need care from a large interprofessional team, including general doctors, nurses, specialists, and pharmacists.

 

Growing Role of the Pharmacy Profession

With increasidical professionals, some of the load has shifted more to pharmacists. Pharmacists have always been involved in patient education to advise on medications, as well as checking for contraindications drug interactions, or other concerns about a prescribed medication; however, their role as an educator and ongoing personal contact for patients has increased.

In many cases, a patient will see a pharmacist more frequently than a doctor, to ask questions. They are perhaps the most accessible healthcare providers. Also, some family pharmacies will offer specialty educational programming, including chronic illness management programs, as additional support.ngly tight medical care resources, and backlogs of medical appointments and care building for doctors and other me

Growing Role of the Pharmacy Profession

Facilitating Care

Pharmacists help facilitate how people can access primary care, which helps in how successful their care is. Pharmacists help in managing chronic disease conditions by fulfilling several roles for treatment. The pharmacist’s role is integral in ensuring that Canada's model of an interprofessional care team is collaborative and effective to help patients with chronic diseases.

A family pharmacist is an important part in medication therapy management, collaborating with the prescribing doctor, and maintaining a patient-centric approach. This helps ensure safe and effective use of medicines, and maximize therapeutic benefits.

Interdisciplinary Support

Multiple medical professionals working together well offers the best results for patient outcomes. The Canadian primary healthcare system model relies on interdisciplinary cooperation for programming and services, including chronic disease management and prevention.

Communication, coordination, and cooperation reduce risks of human error in patient care, and allows for better monitoring of a patient for better results. Pharmacists can help in decision making, contacting doctors to discuss other options for medications or potential drug-related solutions that may be effective for the patient.

Pharmacists are critical in preventing drug administration errors, by detecting drug interactions, reviewing lab tests to monitor medication and therapy effects, performing safety checks when refilling prescriptions, and much more.

Recommending Medications to Physicians

Pharmacists act as a patient advocate, and will collaborate with a prescribing physician if medications are contra-indicated, may interact with other treatments or drugs, or may no longer be beneficial. They are familiar with alternatives, and may recommend ones that are more suitable. Community pharmacists interventions in these cases can significantly improve the success of medication therapy.

Recommending Cost-Effective Treatment for Compliance

The pharmacist can also play a role in chronic disease management, by helping to suggest lower-cost alternatives, if the doctor has not already prescribed one. In some cases where a patient has difficulties paying for any out-of-pocket expenses, it can make the difference between a patient being able to continue regular dosage.

Monitoring Health and Drug Use

A pharmacist will be the one to notice if a patient is going through drugs faster than expected, especially with refillable prescriptions, and can make sure the patient understands the proper dosage and how to take the medicine. Family and community pharmacists can also serve as an added check on a patient's health, to confirm no dangerous side effects or other concerns are being experienced when a patient comes in to refill.

Some pharmacies offer supplementary services, such as blood pressure checks, and will conduct these in conjunction with prescription refills for certain conditions, as an added precaution, and making pharmacists a critical factor in monitoring disease and medication adherence.

Medications to Physicians

Educating on Chronic Disease Management

Professional pharmacy services personnel can play a key role in education. In the early days of a chronic disease diagnosis, patients may be in shock, and confused about the drugs they need to take, and why. They can also be overwhelmed with recommended lifestyle changes. A family pharmacist can help with this overload, providing educational support and reminders as necessary on medications, potential interactions, and lifestyle improvements.

They also can provide support to take away some of the room for error, such as by preparing blister packs for patients with multiple medications, so they don't need to sort and count out several pills that need to be taken at different times during the day.

Offering Wellness and Chronic Disease Management Services

Many community pharmacists offer different wellness services to support, guide, and educate patients. This helps them manage their health conditions better and can improve quality of life.

Pharmacists offer general wellness services which indirectly help with chronic illness management, such as smoking cessation services to help patients with chronic lung illnesses, as well as specific chronic disease management programs. Some of the specific chronic disease management support programming may include educational and lifestyle supports for diabetes, respiratory or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, and mental health diseases and concerns.

Talk to Your Pharmacist

Talk to Your Pharmacist

You should always feel free to talk to your pharmacist with any concerns about your health. Your pharmacist can help with drug concerns, general health supports and education, or refer you to your physician as necessary.

A pharmacist can offer quick and easy access to health care support, to help you prevent or manage your chronic disease. The goal is to prevent complications or a worsening condition, and improve quality of life.

Stayner Family Pharmacy is your friendly, caring pharmacy - stop by and ask us questions whenever. We know dealing with chronic disease is difficult enough. You don't have to do it on your own. We also offer online prescription refills, for your convenience.

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