Studies show that half of all Canadians don’t take prescription medications exactly as prescribed. According to the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, this can have a harmful impact on Canadians. In fact, pharmaceutical non-compliance results in 10 per cent of all hospital admissions across the country, including one-quarter of admissions for the elderly and 23 per cent of nursing home admissions each and every year.
Working under the supervision of a pharmacist, pharmacy assistants can help patients maintain their medication regimens. How do they assist in this important role? Read on to find out!
A patient’s attitude and beliefs toward a particular medication has a significant impact on their adherence and the resulting efficacy. In order to ensure that patients are properly informed, an open dialogue needs to be established between them and the pharmacy team.
Establishing an open dialogue begins as soon as patients approach the counter and are warmly greeted by pharmacy assistants. A pharmacy assistant’s professional and friendly demeanor can help put a patient at ease, and encourage them to ask their pharmacist any questions they may have about their prescription or voice any potential concerns they might have about their medications. Graduates with a pharmacy assistant diploma know how to establish this initial rapport with patients, helping to pave the way to better adherence to medication regimens.
Expansion of Ontario pharmacists’ scope of practice, enacted in 2012, has increased collaboration with other health care professionals for a patient’s ongoing care, enabling pharmacists more opportunity to assess medication adherence.
That expanded role means that pharmacists are busier than ever. To help ensure that they have the time to perform all these duties, many pharmacists rely on the support and help of trained pharmacy assistants. Pharmacy assistants can greet patients, update files, manage inventory, and dispense and compound pharmaceutical products under the supervision of a pharmacist. By helping with these crucial duties, pharmacy assistants enable pharmacists to take their time as they carefully explain to patients how and when to take a new medication, as well as which harmful adverse side effects they need to watch out for.
It can be especially challenging for seniors, patients with new chronic conditions, and those taking multiple prescriptions to take the correct dosage of their medications at the right time. Medical synchronization programs can simplify trips to the pharmacy and encourage the timely filling of necessary prescriptions. In pharmacy assistant courses, students learn to communicate effectively with patients, suppliers, and health care personnel, in addition to managing prescription requests, inventory, and pertinent patient data.
To help patients administer the appropriate medication, pharmacy assistants may work with the head pharmacist to help patients establish an effective medication schedule, choose a daily medication organizer, or use an app or other software program.
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