Pharmacies serve as the primary access points in health care. If you have an ailment, your first contact is likely with a pharmacist. Even if you don’t have an illness, you are probably still in contact with your pharmacist, perhaps for the collection of your medications or to talk about a side effect you recently developed from one of your medications. And this is exactly why pharmacists know their patients really well and play an important role in managing their therapies. During COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists have worked alongside other healthcare professionals in making sure that their patients receive optimal care.
An in-depth knowledge of medications, practical experience, and the ability to get to know their patients so well has helped pharmacists acquire additional roles over the years. So our practice is not just limited to dispensing medications but has expanded way beyond and is still evolving. Here is a list of different services your pharmacist can provide and they are mostly free for the residents of Ontario.
1. Compounding prescriptions
If you have a prescription from your doctor or a recommendation from your pharmacist for a medication that is not available commercially, it may be prepared for you in the pharmacy. For more information, ask your pharmacist if they offer compounding services.
2. Writing and adapting prescriptions.
In Ontario, pharmacists can now write, renew and adapt prescriptions for certain medications. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic here at Guildview pharmacy, we have been renewing our patients’ prescriptions to ensure continuity of care. Before renewing however, we make an effort to evaluate the therapy for our patients so that we are confident that the medications would benefit them. Some pharmacies also offer this service for free. For more information, ask your pharmacist if you would benefit from a prescription renewal.
3. Counselling services
If you have a prescription for a new medication or changes have been made to your therapy, your pharmacist can counsel you and answer all your questions. At Guildview pharmacy, we encourage our patients to be more aware of their medications so that they feel empowered. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also been providing counselling services to our patients on phone calls to minimize their risk of contracting COVID-19.
3. Education on medical conditions like diabetes and heart related diseases
Pharmacists are educators. We love to explain medical conditions to our patients because we believe that the more you know, the less you fear. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been spreading awareness about this viral disease so that people can stay informed and shake off their anxiety a little bit more.
4. Administering injections
There is a long list of vaccines that pharmacists in Ontario can administer to their patients. Additionally, pharmacists can also demonstrate the administration of certain medications that are taken as injections, such as insulin. For more information, ask your pharmacist if they offer vaccination/ injection services.
5. Quit Smoking program
Many pharmacies in Ontario are now participating in the quitting smoking program. Tobacco smoking is considered an addiction and can be successfully managed with appropriate treatment. Your pharmacist can really help you fight it by prescribing a medication tailored to your needs after making a thorough assessment. If you have an Ontario drug benefit plan, the therapy may be free for you. Ask your pharmacist if they have the ‘Quit Smoking program’ in their pharmacy.
6. Free naloxone kit program
Canada is still seeing the opioid epidemic and in fact the number of opioid related deaths has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence has shown that most opioid related deaths are due to accidental ingestion and that is why it is always a good idea to keep the antidote - naloxone- at hand. If you are on any such medication, ask your pharmacist to give you a free naloxone kit to avoid any accidental opioid poisoning.