Pharmacists are becoming one of the most important care providers in the country. As Australia races to get 80% of the population vaccinated against COVID-19, and as GPs’ offices and hospitals face even greater pressure, community pharmacists are being recognised as a go-to trusted source of support and healthcare information.
Pharmacists have become frontline providers of COVID-19 vaccines and stand ready to support the next phase of the rollout. Moderna’s Spikevax is now available for eligible people over 12 years of age. This is a key milestone in Australia’s vaccination program rollout, reaching far more people through the convenience of community pharmacy.
As Pharmacy 777 pharmacist Nigel Krummel explains, pharmacists are equipped and trained to provide the service. “Pharmacists are already professionally accredited in delivering immunisations, such as influenza and whooping cough, and we adhere to the highest clinical standards to provide these services, including supporting patients with comprehensive counselling and post-vaccination observation,” he says.
Caring for vulnerable patients
Vaccination is just one area where pharmacists provide a vital community service. One of the biggest healthcare challenges patients face is dealing with pain management and medication dependence. A tragic number of Australians lose their lives each year due to unintentional drug overdose.
Community pharmacists play an integral role in helping patients and their carers prevent medication harm and address the challenges of medication dependence.
“Community pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals for patients and their carers, and can provide the support and information needed to safely manage medications,” says Pharmacy 777 pharmacist Kathryn Nankivell. “Pharmacists are ideally placed to support patients and their carers with their medications, including after being discharged from hospital. By working side-by-side with patients to review medications, we can provide dose administration aids and home delivery services.”
When patients are filling a prescription, they often turn to pharmacists for advice, for example with pain management or support with other health concerns.
“We can help patients or carers interpret directions and explain possible side effects or expected duration of therapy,” Kathryn says. “We encourage patients or carers to call and ask us about any concerns they have with, when or how to take their medicines.”
Convenient access to pharmacists’ support
Often patients put off visits to their GP because they are busy, have family pressures or the times their GP is available don’t fit in with their working day. Community pharmacists are readily available to provide complementary care to a patient’s GP in support of their prescribed treatment plan.
In between visits to the GP pharmacists can review the medication for a patient to ensure the intended therapy is effectively managed and to prevent any medicine-related issues or possible hospital admission from misuse.
Another preventative health measure, where pharmacists can provide support is through health screenings for patients to help identify risk factors for chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
For example, Pharmacy 777 enables patients to book 20-minute appointments with a pharmacist, where the pharmacist will do a thorough health check, including blood pressure, weight and waist circumference, and cover questions on health and family history and lifestyle factors such diet and exercise. This provides an assessment of potential risk factors over the next five years.
“Our Health Check service is designed to be quick, informative and connect patients to the right care, including referrals to their GP,” says Pharmacy 777 pharmacist Kristian Ray. “We work together with your GP for continuity of care, resulting in optimal health outcomes. Our pharmacists are always available to provide support to patients and their families.”
The types of health services pharmacists can offer patients are extensive – from vaccinations, to medication management, to addressing issues such as sleep apnoea, pain management and mental health support.
Supporting our local community
At a time when many communities face reduced funding for charitable causes and initiatives, Pharmacy 777 pharmacists have found different ways to offer their time and help raise awareness or provide support.
Through the Community Spirit program, the Pharmacy 777 Group have given back to local causes such as community initiatives, school groups, support programs and more.
Beyond their duties in the pharmacy, pharmacists remain a central and trusted part of our local communities.
World Pharmacists’ Day pays tribute to these important healthcare providers and the vital role they play in helping patients and as part of the broader healthcare network.
We encourage you to contact your local Pharmacy 777 to find out how our pharmacists can help you.
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