Pharmacists Enhancing Patient Care

Apr 28, 2016 | News

Caption: Bita, a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic, with Jordan, a patient in the CF clinic who is awaiting a transplant.

It’s Patient and Resident Experience Week at Providence Health Care, and we are celebrating the strides we have made in patient-centered care. Just last year, Providence was named an exemplar hospital by the Institute of Patient-and-Family Centered Care for our Family Presence Policy. Each and every day, PHC staff work tirelessly to optimize patient care and prevent readmissions by working closely with patients, families and care providers.

Pharmacists help improve patient outcomes by ensuring medications are safe and effective. Patients are engaged to participate in their health management through medication counseling and monitoring for side effects. Pharmacists work with the patient’s healthcare team to select cost-effective, evidence-based therapies that patients can adhere to upon discharge home.  

Across PHC, over 30 hospital pharmacists are dedicated to enhancing patient-centred care every day. The following vignettes capture the essence of how pharmacists positively impact patients, families and healthcare teams.  

A Breath of Fresh Air  

As the Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic, Bita is an expert in navigating complexity. Bita’s role in the CF Clinic is integral to the team as she optimizes patients’ medications regimens both in and out of hospital. Care of CF patients requires expertise in managing  antibiotic-resistant infections, complex medication regimens and accessing medications through Health Canada. 

Bita’s efforts are recognized daily by her wonderful colleagues and appreciated by her patients.

“The CF pharmacist is an extremely vital part of the team. “I couldn't imagine going through the medical situation I've been going through over the past year and a half without the positive support of Bita,” says Jason, a CF patient. “She is always keeping a close eye on my blood work and has an incredible amount of knowledge of medications and how they can interact. I don't believe my treatment would be as successful as it has been if not for such a great pharmacist like Bita.”

Making Sense of Medications

As an internal medicine pharmacist, Jane is consistently involved in the care of complex patients with multiple comorbidities. A few months ago, Jane looked after Linda, who was followed by a number of specialist and was overwhelmed with all the medications she was prescribed and had concerns about drug interactions.  

Jane did some detective work to determine the reason behind Linda’s complex medication regimen. She then prepared a medication calendar for Linda, clearly explaining why she was prescribed these medications, what to expect from them and how to make sure she was getting the most out of her therapy.

After meeting with Jane, Linda and her caregiver were better able to understand the complexities surrounding her care. “Jane really took the time to help us - she gets an A+ for explaining all these medications!” said Linda.

Through Jane’s care, Linda was able to make a clear connection to how her medications related to the big picture of her overall health.

Seamless Care for Renal Patients

As the Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in nephrology, Wynnie cares for patients on hemodialysis, closely monitoring the safety and efficacy of medications and ensuring medication dosages are appropriate. Wynnie communicates with healthcare teams in the hospital and community to ensure seamless care is provided across transitions of care.

Ed, a renal patient who received a successful transplant, is grateful for Wynnie’s dedication and had the following to say about the support of the SPH Renal Team: 

"The entire renal team at St. Paul’s hospital is world class and can be credited with saving my life and making a very tough year manageable. The nephrologists, renal nurses, and my renal clinical pharmacist Wynnie Lau were highly skilled, knowledgeable, professional, and caring.

I particularly became reliant on Wynnie as my case was very complex and required continual adjustments to my many, many medications (antihypertensives, antivirals, immunosuppressants, hormones, dietary supplements, etc.).

Wynnie would see me every Tuesday in the dialysis ward and would spend significant time reviewing my bloodwork and medications, and answering my many questions. I felt Wynnie was very much on top of my complicated case and played a significant role in my recovery.

She also ensured that there were no detrimental drug interactions and ensured I was very aware of any drug side effects. For example, Wynnie let me know that one of my medications could cause birth defects which was a critical piece of information as my wife and I were considering having another baby during that period.

It was this type of very intimate understanding of each of the drugs that provided me peace of mind and a safe path forward. Likewise, the rest of the renal team, including the nephrologist, were reliant on Wynnie and regularly deferred to her expertise.

Thanks, Wynnie!”

Exceptional Care for Vulnerable Patients

Patients admitted to the Urban Health Acute Unit, also known as 10C, are admitted under Infectious Disease Attending physicians with either HIV or a history of intravenous drug use (IVDU) or an IVDU-related infection. These patients are often on complicated medication regimens, which require careful monitoring to ensure drug therapy is safe and effective.

“Patients on 10C can be quite complex and are often followed by the Addictions team or need some form of med management upon discharge,” says Michelle, 10C Clinical Nurse Leader. “Pharmacists on 10C are an integral part of the interdisciplinary care team in managing this piece.”

Ravinder, a clinical pharmacist covering 10C, is skilled at communicating these complexities to both health care professionals and patients prior to discharge. You can recognize Ravinder by the smile she wears even under the pressure of balancing in-patient medication management and difficult discharges.  

She works diligently to ensure seamless care is provided through the appropriate assessment of drug therapy regimens at admission and discharge and often liaises with the physicians on-service, community pharmacies, and  BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS to do so.

Michelle greatly values Ravinder and all of the pharmacists who cover 10C, “Pharmacists are instrumental in ensuring a safe discharge. We could not do the great work that we do without a pharmacist.”

Care Experience

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