Why pharmacists’ care is crucial to patients’ survival
It has been posited that pharmacists’ care is crucial to the survival of patients and that drugs could both cure the patient as medication or kill him or her as poison.
Abia state-born but United States (U.S.)-based pharmacist, Dr. Christian Ike, while urging pharmacists in the country to always be alive to their professional responsibilities in the healthcare delivery, which role/responsibility includes their verifying the legality, safety and appropriateness of the prescription order, checking the patient medication record before dispensing the prescription.
Ike spoke Sunday in Umuahia, Abia state capital, while delivering a keynote address at the state Chapter of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) celebration of the 2016 World Pharmacists Day. The theme of the event was “Pharmacist: Caring for You,” which was also the subject of his twelve-page paper.
Ike said that the theme was chosen to reflect the important role of pharmacists in providing care to the public and also to highlight the emotional connection they have with their patients adding that the role of pharmacists has evolved from that of a provider of medicine to that of a provider of care.
According to him, there is need for pharmacists, being gate-keepers, to effect computerization of patient profile towards ensuing that quantities of medication are dispensed accurately, deciding whether the medication should be handed to the patient with appropriate counseling in view of the fact that “the drug could cure the patient as medication or kill the patient as poison.”
He described pharmacists as healthcare professionals who practice in the field of health sciences focusing on safe and effective medication use and advising physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions and side effects of medications as well as providing the right information to patients.
This, he said, is based on that pharmacists are trained to know and understand the use, clinical effects and composition of drugs, including their chemical, biological and physical properties.
For a more effective drug administration, he noted that the umbrella body of practicing pharmacists in the country, the PSN, has articulated what he called “Clinical and Professional roles and needs” in the rational use and distribution of drugs in the community and hospitals with its attendant positive impact and outcomes.
He consequently urged the state Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, who is a Clinical Biochemist, to remove some of the bottleneck hindering the total implementation and give the support. Ike expressed optimism that if so done, ” Abia state will not only be the first in alphabetical order in the comity of states, but in deed the first in all positive ramifications including pharmaceutical care and hence a healthy s
He also corroborated Acheampong’s 2016 posit that “Pharmacists have the expertise to provide patient care services that are cost-effective and of high quality and are the most accessible health professionals and that the public places great trust in them.”
Ike who is also the President of Abia State National Association – U.S. and North America, segmented his paper into five sub topics namely, who is a pharmacists, what is pharmaceutical care, how the pharmacists cares for you, collaborating with other members of the healthcare team and outcomes based care.
He explained that as pharmacists in community and retail pharmacies counsel patients and answer questions about prescription drugs including questions regarding their possible side effects or interactions amongst various drugs, they should also advise patients on diets, exercise or stress management, durable medical equipment and home health care adding that some provide specialized services to help patients manage conditions such as diabetes, asthma, smoking cessation or high blood pressure.
On the concept of “Pharmacists Caring for You and Pharmaceutical Care”, he stated “pharmaceutical Care is a patient-centered, outcomes oriented pharmacy practice that requires the pharmacist to work in concert with the patient and the patient’s other healthcare providers to promote health, prevent disease, to assess, monitor, initiate and modify medication use, to assure that drug therapy regimens are safe and effective.”
According to the international practicing pharmacist, the goal of pharmaceutical care is to optimize the patient’s health-related quality of life and achieve positive clinical outcomes, within realistic economic expenditures.
To achieve this goal, he listed five modalities namely; establishment and maintenance of professional relationship, collecting, organizing, recording and maintaining of patient-specific medical information, evaluation of patient-specific medical information and developing mutually acceptable drug therapy plan with the patient.
Others are pharmacist assuring that the patient has all supplies, information and knowledge necessary to carry out the drug therapy plan and reviewing, monitoring and modifying the therapeutic plan as necessary and appropriate in concert with the patient and healthcare team.
He, however, pointed out that for pharmaceutical care to be effective, the patient should be able to get answers to certain questions from the pharmacist such as how to store his or her patient’s medication, the dosage, things to avoid, possible side effects, precautions, implications of not taking full prescription, among others.
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