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Pharmacists are a free health resource

Pharmacists are a free health resource

There is a free health resource at your local pharmacy—your pharmacist. That’s according to Robert Quintana, PharmD, Campbell County Health (CCH) Pharmacy Director at Campbell County Memorial Hospital.

“Pharmacists have six years of training, and a doctorate,” says Robert. “Most pharmacists, in retail pharmacies or in the hospital, want the opportunity to visit with people—they want to help.”

The clinical pharmacists at CCMH talk to all the patients who are ready to be discharged from the hospital, and their family members or caregivers if needed. They review what medications the patient is currently taking, and what they may be receiving when they leave the hospital, especially if their medication has changed, if they are getting a new medication, or a different dosage.

“It’s also important to review any possible interactions with other medications or foods,” said Robert. “We can contact their doctor if there are questions as well. One of the reasons that people have to be readmitted to the hospital is that they don’t pick up, or don’t take the medicine they are prescribed on discharge. That’s why it’s so important to get medications right.”

Robert and the other clinical pharmacists give patients a card with their contact information, so they can call even after leaving the hospital if questions come up.

He recommends these tips for talking to your pharmacist from the BeMedWise Program at www.bemedwise.org:

  • Ask the pharmacist to review all of the medicines you are taking (prescription, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and supplements) when you pick up medicines for yourself or family members, and don’t forget to tell them about any changes to your medicines, including anything you have stopped taking.
  • Consider using one pharmacy for you and everyone else in your family. This is helpful because the pharmacist can review all of your other medicines at the same time. It is easier to pick everything up or have it delivered from one location instead of multiple pharmacies.
  • Let the pharmacist know if you’ve had any allergic reactions or problems with medicines, dietary supplements, food, medical devices or other medical treatments.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything that could affect your use of the medicine, such as possible side effects and what to do if you experience them; trouble swallowing, reading the print on small labels, understanding English, forgetting to take your medicine, distinguishing the look of one medicine from another, and affording and paying for medicines.
  • Before you leave the pharmacy make sure all of your questions have been answered and that you understand the directions for use and how to measure the dosage correctly, including liquid medications. Always use either the measuring cup, syringe or dropper that comes with any liquid medicine.