BY ERIN MACKENZIE
Pharmacists in P.E.I. are celebrating Pharmacist Awareness Week March 4th-10th. In keeping with this year’s theme, ‘Think ,’ we are taking this opportunity to remind Island seniors of the important health care services their pharmacist can now provide, right in their community, to support healthy, independent living.
As people age, the likelihood that they will require one or more prescription medications increases dramatically. Statistics Canada has reported that 83 per cent of individuals between the ages of 65 and 79 are taking at least one prescription drug. Pharmacists are responsible for ensuring that your medication is safe and appropriate for you, taking into account any allergies, health conditions, and other medications that you may be taking. And now, pharmacists are doing so much more.
Pharmacists in P.E.I. are able to deliver a broader range of services compared to just a few years ago, and are well positioned to support independent and healthy lifestyles for our Island seniors.
Some of these services are government funded (for eligible seniors), including:
Medication reviews- ensures all prescription and non-prescription drugs are being taken appropriately, safely and most effectively;
Medication packaging- complicated dosing schedules lead to medication errors. It’s easy to forget whether you have taken your dose or not; Packaging can make complicated dosing schedules safer, reduce medication errors and support independent living;
Flu shots - P.E.I. pharmacists gave more than 27,630 flu shots in the 2017-18 season.
Other services that your pharmacist can provide, but are not reimbursed by government to do so include:
Other vaccinations- pharmacists can prescribe and administer many vaccines, including those to prevent shingles & pneumonia, as well as provide travel vaccines and more;
Prescribing for minor ailments- muscle aches, strains, cold sores, hay fever- these are just some of the 30 ailments that can be assessed and prescribed for by your pharmacist, avoiding a clinic visit.
Pharmacies also provide other supportive services, including:
Return of unused medications - prevents medication mix-ups by removing unneeded medications from the home, and ensures proper disposal to protect the environment;
Needles and sharps returns - proper disposal of sharps keeps our communities safe;
Prescription delivery (often);
Telephone support and advice.
With more than 190 licensed pharmacists in P.E.I., working in hospitals, government and 48 community pharmacies across the province, pharmacists are your most accessible health care providers. Seeing a pharmacist generally requires no appointment, and their convenient locations mean that pharmacies are close by for most Islanders, wherever they live.
- Erin MacKenzie is the executive director of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association, and a community pharmacist practicing in Charlottetown