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Each year in March, we celebrate Pharmacist Awareness Month (PAM) across Canada to raise awareness about the contributions pharmacists make in the delivery of health care.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter and use #PAM2017 to join the conversation.
Community pharmacists in British Columbia are one of your best ways to access high quality, primary health-care services, particularly in rural areas of the province.
As part of Pharmacist Awareness Month in March, B.C.’s pharmacists are reminding the public of the services they deliver beyond dispensing medications. Here are five ways your community pharmacist can help you:
1, Provide vaccinations to protect you against illnesses
A recent survey found that 87 per cent of British Columbians are aware that pharmacists can give flu shots. And it’s no wonder – B.C. pharmacists are estimated to have given well over 500,000 flu shots in the 2016/17 season.
But did you know they can also offer other vaccines? Pharmacists can provide publicly-funded vaccines such as pneumococcal, HPV, tetanus and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), as well as paid vaccines such as shingles or travel vaccines. More than 95 per cent of community pharmacies have at least one pharmacist who can give immunizations.
2. Help you prepare for your upcoming vacation
If you’re heading out for spring break, your pharmacist can review your medications to make sure your prescriptions won’t expire while you’re away, help adjust your dosing schedule to make sure you avoid missing doses when travelling across time zones, or arrange for backup supplies of prescriptions in case you lose your luggage. They can also talk to you about how to avoid travel sickness and prevent travelers’ diarrhea, or provide advice on any over-the-counter medications you may need for your trip
3. Renew or adapt some prescriptions
If you have a stable chronic condition such as asthma or diabetes, your pharmacist may be able to renew your medications for up to one year from the date of the original prescription without needing a new prescription. Patients taking birth control pills can have their pharmacist renew their prescriptions for up to two years. Pharmacists can also adapt prescriptions to make sure patients get the right dose or formula, or switch from a pill to a liquid.
4, Help you understand how to use your medications safely and effectively
Talk to your pharmacist to see if you’re eligible for a medication review, a publicly-funded service that provides advice on how to best take your medications and resolve any issues you may be having with them. Studies have shown that the more patients know about their medications, the better they adhere to the intended medication regimen. This not only improves health outcomes, but helps reduce health costs by lowering the rate of emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
5. Offer health coaching for chronic conditions
Community pharmacists can provide guidance and support to help you achieve your health goals, whether that’s target blood pressure, cholesterol measurements, blood glucose or taking control of your asthma symptoms. Pharmacists can help implement strategies to achieve these goals and offer effective coaching and follow-ups to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviours.
Tell us about your great experience with your pharmacist. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us what your pharmacist does to go above and beyond in patient care.
Learn more about what pharmacists are doing that is #MoreThanPills here.