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Helping patients manage their medications
Did you know that two-thirds of Canadians over 65 take more than five medications? If you have one or more medical conditions and want a better understanding of your medications you can now meet with a pharmacist who will review all your meds and offer recommendations and provide followup care, if needed.
The Pharmasave Health Centre in Parksville is one of 125 pharmacies in B.C. participating in a pilot project that helps families take ownership of their health through improved understanding of their medications.
The BC Medication Management Project was created in September 2010 to allow B.C. pharmacists to spend more time helping patients keep track of their medications.
Pharmacist owner Tammie Toriglia said they have had close to 100 patient medication reviews already and added it is proving to be a valuable service.
“They can take as much time as they need with us. In the past we did it without being paid but now there is a structure in place and we can bill for the time we spend with a patient.”
She said doctors don’t always have the time to have an in-depth review of a patient’s medications and sometimes things can get missed.
“We are like a second set of eyes. We provide a different perspective and can clear up any confusion a patient may have about their meds,” she said.
Toriglia, along with fellow Pharmacist Lonny Barr, said they have been able to reassure people who have questions about their medications such as when to take them and what they are for.
Barr, who is Medication Management Certified, said there is a lot of confusion surrounding meds and many people don’t take them properly.
Toriglia agreed, saying: “People have problems remembering when to take their meds and as a team we can reassure people and give them better health care.”
Barr said anyone can benefit from a one-on-one discussion with a pharmacist.
“People don’t have to have a lot of problems to come and see us. It doesn’t have to be complicated.”
Toriglia added the program is especially helpful for people on a lot of medication.
“Anyone who has a chronic condition especially if they are seeing more than one doctor or if they are going to have surgery should have an up to date list of their meds on hand.”
In order for the pharmacist to make a record of a current medication list, patients should bring all medications to the appointment, including any vitamins, herbal supplements and/or over-the-counter products you are taking.
If the pharmacist identifies an issue that your physician needs to be aware of, he or she will either refer you back to your GP or inform them directly.
The Pharmasave Health Centre in Parksville will also check out any medical hardware you may be using such as blood pressure monitors and diabetes monitoring devices.
Toriglia said she hopes the project will set the bar higher for what you can expect from your community pharmacist.
“In the future all pharmacists will be doing this.”