The role of the pharmacist has become more central in healthcare system – with changes in technology, the pharmacist now has access to a wealth of information, and patient has a great deal of trust. In this post, we will explore the role of the pharmacist in patient counselling, what to do if a patient has a health question and how to make the most of your pharmacist’s time.
Patient counselling can play a critical role in medication management and adherence. The role of pharmacist in patient counseling is also to provide information about potential drug interactions. This helps ensure the correct medication is given to the correct person. Training is critical in helping to ensure excellent decision making.
Patent counselling has three parts
The first is offering relevant information about treatment options, then discussing the pros and cons of each option including any possible side effects. Finally, the pharmacist needs to evaluate how well the patient understands their situation and provide any final advice if necessary. Ensure patient or caregiver is really absorbing what you‘re saying.
Pharmacists are consistently ranked among the most trusted professionals, and research shows high levels of satisfaction with pharmacist services.
Source: Patient attitudes regarding the role of the pharmacist and interest in expanded pharmacist services.
It is the pharmacist’s responsibility to advice patients on the risks and benefits of treatment. Consultation should provide the necessary information needed to make informed choices while considering costs, accessibility, cultural attitudes and religious belief.
In some ways, pharmacists are role models for patient counselling. As the folks who dispense the medicines, they’re generally aware of the benefits and risks that come with taking medications, even if other health care providers may not be as familiar with this aspect of care.
Visibility of the pharmacy profession
As pharmacists become more involved, they increasingly focus on patient counselling which is a vital part of their job roles in addition to filling prescriptions and giving advice on over-the-counter products. Pharmacists need to balance sales and counselling, providing sufficient information to encourage patients to consider an alternative.
The pharmacist should be involved in discussing medication-related issues with other team members, as well as in advising patients about their pharmacological treatment.
Source: The Invisible Pharmacist.
Why are pharmacists important for patient counselling? – Top three reasons
Pharmacists are frontline healthcare professionals and take a significant role in counselling patients about prescription medicines. They are able to recommend and provide answers to questions about medicines, liquid and solid. Pharmacists are usually the most knowledgeable when it comes to prescription medicine and can provide patients with the right information. Pharmacists provide advice to patients by looking at allergies, special medications, diet, and other medical conditions. They also monitor the receipt and fill prescriptions with responsibility to make sure the patient takes the medication correctly.
1: Pharmacists are an important part of patient education and assessment –
Educating patients is about giving them the facts. By knowing how to communicate effectively with patients, pharmacists can better assess their health needs and develop a long-term treatment plan.
You should provide clear, concise information to your patients, and then listen to them.
Pharmacists are an amazing factor in the determination of a patient’s well-being. They can approach a patient with empathy, explain a medical condition in detail, and then recommend solutions for it. The patient might also have unclear interactions with the pharmacy, and this is where the pharmacist can be a boon, helping the patient reach their goal of improved health.
Generally, pharmacists talk to patients about what medication they are to use, taking a complete medical history. Pharmacists may also monitor a patient’s medication use and provide support to a patient when recommended. In a nutshell, pharmacists can be a patient’s pillar in time of need.
2: Pharmacist is a great resource to provide personalized medicine to patients –
Pharmacists are not just there to fill prescriptions. They provide care to patients who come in to chat or get information or to ask a friendly question. That is why it is important to find one you trust, ideally one who knows your health history or will take the time to get to know you. The pharmacist can be a partner to your health care team, and is often the only healthcare professional who is able to give medical advice without a physician. They can provide compassionate care, reassurance, medical information and personalized prescriptions. They are a great resource to help you take charge of your own medication decisions.
3: Pharmacist provides expert advice for your medication to improve health –
All medications have side effects. Often times, these side effects can be more than we know what to do with. It’s important to work with your pharmacist to find the perfect medication for you, taking into account your lifestyle, health, and preference. A pharmacist can provide expert advice about your medication to improve health and reduce side effects.
Patient understanding regarding the role of a pharmacist
1. Pharmacists are patient educators
2. Pharmacists are drug experts
3. Pharmacists are a trusted source of information
4. Pharmacists stay up-to-date with the new and latest treatments
How to start conversation with your patient? – Communicating effectively with patients
Patient counselling may start with simple questions, such as:
1. Greeting the patient
2. Asking the patient what they need
3. Asking relevant questions
4. Advising patients on how to avoid adverse drug reactions
Pharmacists can be an integral part of the patient’s care team. We have learned:
1: Pharmacists should provide information about treatment options
2: Pharmacists should discuss the pros and cons of available treatment options
3: Pharmacists should evaluate how well their patients understand their situation
Pharmacist can counsel patients on the potential side effects and long term effects of a medication, answer patient questions, and advise when a different medication should be taken. The pharmacist could also describe the best time of day to take the medication for maximum effectiveness. In most of the developed countries, pharmacists also have the authority to prescribe medication. If the pharmacist has a question about the patient’s condition, they can consult a specialist for advice.
The role of pharmacists in developing countries*
In contrast to the situation in developed countries, pharmacists in developing countries are still underutilized and their role as health care professionals is not deemed important by either the community or other health care providers. Source: The role of pharmacists in developing countries: the current scenario in Pakistan.
*Bonus topics are selected based on our readers’ interest. You can read more in the future.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on PharmaRead are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency or organization. PharmaRead articles are provided for information only with focus on global health, pharmacy practice, and healthcare systems in Low- and Middle-income Countries (LMICs). Readers should seek expert opinion for use, implementation or application of this knowledge based on their individual circumstances.