Recognizing American Pharmacists Month
Updated: Oct 17, 2022
Voyage Long Term Care has had an exceptional relationship with the pharmacy company that provides services to the residents at both Edmond Health Care Center and Oak Hills Care Center. Remedi SeniorCare focuses on providing services to those that are in long-term/post-acute care and assisted living. Quite different from a retail pharmacy – Remedi focuses on improved accuracy of medication administration, time savings in medication administration with special packaging called PAXIT and working with the facility/community’s healthcare team to improve the resident’s healthcare experience.
In recognition of American Pharmacists Month, we sat down with Gara Wilsie, Doctor of Pharmacy (D.Ph.) and Derek Sanders, D. Ph., both with comparable stories on why they decided to become pharmacists.
Wilsie was raised in the industry, as her father owned several pharmacies. She started working in the industry at the age of 12 years old. Sanders said his neighbor growing up owned a pharmacy. He recalls watching him as a respected member of the community providing services to those in need. He also shared a story of patrons given a ticket for a free soda at the soda fountain while waiting on their medications.
In the 1850’s consumers would purchase fountain drinks from their local drugstore to cure physical ailments since many fountain drinks were concoctions of flavors with ingredients such as cocaine and caffeine - which were used for headache treatment. Pharmacists (called druggists at the time) were even known to make their own secret formulas. In the 1920’s it was not unusual for a pharmacy to have a soda fountain. Prohibition created the need for people to find new ways to socialize. However, with the invention of soda dispensers, ban on cocaine and the end of prohibition – soda fountains became obsolete.
Pharmacies & Long-Term Care
For Wilsie, to “become part of the healthcare team” is her favorite part of being a pharmacist. “Seniors have multiple comorbidities and typically have multiple doctor’s” she said. One of the goals in long term care is to reduce medications when necessary as it can be a common occurrence to see an individual on duplicate drug therapies if they are seeing multiple doctors. According to a study published in The National Library of Medicine on older adults in long-term-care (LTC), it was found that there was a significant reduction in medication usage with the intervention of pharmacists in LTC.
In addition to reduction of medications, pharmacists understand that with age, the body changes and how one processes drugs may also change. Based on this knowledge, they can be another set of eyes on that patient as their metabolism slows down and the way they process drugs also might slow down, requiring a need to change dosage of medication.
Medications Coming Out of the Hospital
Upon discharging from a hospital, patients and families may find it difficult to decipher discharge paperwork and current medications lists, as they can be challenging to read. The best thing to do as a patient or a loved one of a patient, is to ask the discharge planner at a hospital to provide you with a list of just the medications with start and stop dates. It is important for patients and/or families to play an active role in knowing the current list of medications and administrating instructions. Knowing the medications and understanding what they are used for is crucial for your care.
“Don’t Put Your Medications in a Coffee Cup”
For pharmacist Sanders, a piece of advice comes from a story where a gentleman had put all his medications in a coffee cup to prepare to sort them in his medication reminder, yet; he walked away for a moment. Upon his return, his wife had filled a fresh cup of coffee which she proceeded to drink, with the medications dissolving in the bottom. Luckily, they were harmless medications, but this humorous story could have gone severely wrong had there been other medications in that coffee cup.
The advice here is to keep your medications in a safe place, and when sorting, do not walk away from it as you risk the loss of medicine.
Other advice would be to always consult with your physician and pharmacist for any change in condition. In long term care, medications are looked at daily by the facility staff through their Medication Administration Record. A consultant pharmacist is required to review medications monthly for residents in a nursing home and quarterly for residents in an assisted living community. Wilsie said that “Pharmacist is a very trusted profession,” and because of this it makes her job easier in being an advocate for patients in long term care. An example is when a patient receives Lasix (which is used to reduce extra fluid in the body), the team at Remedi will work with the care team on time of administration as often, the evening dosage can cause the patient to have to use the restroom later in the evening. This may lead to falls in long term care when you have a weaker population trying to get up to use the restroom, so the team works together to identify the best time an individual should take their medications as well. Our consultant pharmacists most common recommendation is to discontinue or reduce a medication.
A Humble & Trusted Profession
Pharmacotherapy, pharmacology, and pharmacokinetics – OH MY! These are only some of the examples of required classes pharmacists must take. According to the American Associates of College of Pharmacy, more than 10% of people who make it into pharmacy school – will not make it to graduation. This humble profession plays such a crucial role in healthcare, and pharmacists are not only trusted but highly respected – so during this month especially – thank a pharmacist for their advocacy for your care and for the challenging work they put in to be a great resource for your healthcare!
In October we celebrate American Pharmacists Month, and on October 12th, 2022 we celebrated National Women in Pharmacists Day.
Five Fun Facts About Pharmacists'
The invention of Coca-Cola®, Dr. Pepper®, Pepsi® and Ginger Ale® can all be attributed to pharmacists.
Pharmacists are doctors that must complete two years of prerequisites then apply and complete and accredited four-year Doctor of Pharmacy program to obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, PharmD.
Benjamin Franklin was a pharmacist.
Louis Dufilho Jr. of New Orleans was America’s first licensed pharmacist in the early 1800’s and set up his shop in the French Quarter.
Early American pharmacies were called apothecaries and pharmacists were often called druggists or chemists.