5 Ways Pharmacists Can Help Your Aging Adult
Pharmacists play a role as part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team for an older aging adult. Their role is critical in improving the patient’s care and life.
For older adults, it can be helpful to develop a relationship with a pharmacist and use the same pharmacist regularly. As pharmacists learn about an individual’s unique needs and circumstances, they can help provide consistent care and help prevent drug-related problems. Pharmacists are often the most accessible health care practitioner. They can give patients drug information, monitor use and act as a liaison between physicians and patients. Additionally, they can provide information on interactions between drugs, other medications, supplements and food.
An interdisciplinary care team for the elderly
Pharmacists do more than just give out prescription medication. They are valuable members of a larger interdisciplinary team caring for an older individual. As part of a healthcare team, pharmacists can improve an elderly patient’s care. They can make recommendations in many areas, including:
• Adverse drug reactions
• Intravenous drug compatibility
• Drug monitoring
• Guidelines for treatment
• Approved and off-label indications
1. Getting the right care
Hospital pharmacists work in a hospital setting in coordination with healthcare professionals to provide care for patients. They check prescription orders for potential side effects and drug interactions and dispense medications. They may also prepare IV bags, oral syringes and creams for patients.
Geriatric pharmacists specialize in the care of older adults. Some geriatric pharmacists specialize in dispensing medicines and counseling older patients about those medicines. Other geriatric pharmacists work as part of a healthcare team providing care for individuals in nursing and hospice facilities.
Retail pharmacists are probably the best known pharmacists. These pharmacists work in retail and commercial settings and have frequent patient interaction. They check medications and provide drug counseling to patients. Retail pharmacists are often trusted by patients and asked their advice for different medications.
5 ways pharmacists can help your aging adult
1 Medication use and adherence
Pharmacists can educate older adults and their families on how to take certain drugs. Instructions can be especially helpful with things like injectables, drops, inhalers, or patches that are more complicated.
2 Medication management
The average adult over age 65 takes between 14 and 18 different prescription medications each year. Pharmacists can educate older adults on how these medications help them with their condition (agingcare.com). By keeping communication lines open between the patient, pharmacist and doctor, the pharmacist can help the patient manage their multiple prescriptions
3 Tailored care
Pharmacists can provide tailored care to the aging adult who may need it, including:
• Supplying drugs to patients in ways that are accessible to them, such as providing easy open bottles or pills without wrappers.
• Having drug labels and printed material in large type and in the patient’s native language so they are easy to read.
Home Care Tip:
Some pharmacists will make house calls to identify and resolve medication-related issues.
4 Source of information for the patient and family
In addition to providing information on drug interactions and side effects, pharmacists can also teach seniors and their families how to use drug calendar reminders, drug dispensing devices and pill crushers. Having these valuable tools can save time and frustration down the road.
5 Positive Health Outcomes
As pharmacists help with medication adherence, a aging adult’s health can improve. One study showed that the pharmacist’s role helped lead to a reduction in falls and better medicine optimization (pharmacymagazine.co.uk). As pharmacists better understand a patient’s condition they can offer alternative medications that may work better for the patient.