Managing chronic conditions has its fair share of challenges, which further increase with the number of illnesses one has to juggle. The National Council on Aging finds that about 8 in 10 seniors are living with at least two or more chronic conditions. With the majority of seniors having to deal with multiple long-term ailments at a time, this can mean even more hurdles in the management process. A good pharmacy can work closely with patients, caregivers, families, physicians, and every member of their care equation. It can ensure an alignment of strategy and that everyone is pulling in the same direction. Today, we cast the spotlight on how pharmacy services come in handy when managing chronic conditions among seniors.
Pharmacists guide insulin administration
Managing type 2 diabetes in seniors means periodic insulin administration. But that itself can be challenging for patients who may have a poor perception of needles as well as an improper understanding of how the process works.
Pharmacy services step in to fill these knowledge gaps for seniors, should they forget details about how to go about the process or required medical education right from scratch. They can guide in terms of administration sites, routes, dosages, and much more.
But beyond insulin administration, pharmacists can also enlighten patients in terms of:
- Advising on necessary lifestyle adjustments
- Providing consistent guidance for glucose regulation
- Recommending newer treatment agents for patients
Specialists offer oversight for treatment adherence
Seniors aren’t usually the best at keeping tabs on their medications. Nonadherence can be accidental and intentional but pharmacy services can help address both types. For example, patients can have misunderstandings or fears about medication. Specialists can alleviate these concerns by expounding further on what medication achieves.
In cases where drugs are distasteful or a patient has to put up with several medications, pharmacists can be of even greater help. A compounding pharmacy may be able to reduce the medication burden by merging medication and thus encourage compliance. Pharmacists can also improve flavoring to make medication more palatable.
All in all, pharmacists can find innovative solutions – including a bespoke package with time stamps- to the challenges that often lead to medication non-adherence. This helps to keep seniors on the proper path to better chronic care management and health. Such facilities might just be the secret weapon to dealing with long-term illnesses
Seniors master how to self-monitor adverse drug events
Research by The Guardian reports that over 25% of seniors experience severe drug reactions stemming from medication that their physician prescribed to them. Such scenarios are commonplace among seniors, who tend to be at higher risk of this problem due to the following factors:
- Diminishing function of the kidneys and liver
- Changing body composition (water declines as fat percentage heads up)
- Declining metabolism, etc.
Pharmacy services can arm seniors with the knowledge to protect themselves from adverse drug events. The experts can provide insights about the early red flags to be on the lookout for. They can also engage patients and teach them how to assess subtle changes in their physiologies that they wouldn’t be able to pick out otherwise.
Seniors can solve OIC problems with pharmacists’ help
Opioid Induced Constipation (OIC) can occur among seniors on powerful pain drugs. More so, if patients are having to take multiple medications over a long period. It entails discomfort during bowel movement, which can be accompanied by pain.
Pharmacy services can keep a closer eye on patients to help sniff out early warning signs of OIC. With in-depth assessments of the patient’s condition, they may also be able to narrow down the links between bowel habits, and even provide recommendations for laxatives should there be a need.
But even more importantly, specialists can provide proactive awareness to help seniors reduce the chance or risk of winding up with this problem in the first place. This education can entail advice on dietary as well as lifestyle changes – e.g. recommending exercises that can improve bowel movements.
Pharmacists can advise on better medication options
Experienced pharmacies are adept at determining medication efficacy. They can point out whether drugs are getting the job done or not and liaise with the physician to find a solution if the latter is the case.
Their deep expertise allows them to identify how the medication is easing the progression of a disease or if it’s doing nothing at all. They can then relay their findings up the hierarchy, connecting with physicians to recommend possibly more effective alternatives, depending on what they have observed in terms of the patients’ unique:
- Genetic factors
- Living environment
- Psychological factors
Sometimes the improvement of medication can also involve compounding services to ensure a more suitable form or take out problematic ingredients for the senior.
Seniors enjoy better care transition with pharmacy services
Poor care transition can increase the risk of a senior’s hospitalization or rehospitalization, with some of the most common causes including lack of follow-up and poor communication among the parties involved.
While there is a need for concerted efforts for all care providers involved, pharmacy services certainly play a significant role in improving transitions. They can, for example, step in to assist with medication reconciliation.
Pharmacy services can craft a list of medications seniors are to be prescribed as well as those that they are currently on. The specialists can then compare both lists, and identify discrepancies that can jeopardize the transition process. They can then forward their discoveries to caregivers and providers, thus streamlining the changeover process even further.
Pharmacy services are pivotal in chronic disease management
A pharmacist’s role in chronic disease management only just starts with fulfilling prescriptions. This is by no means the full extent of the support they can offer to seniors who are chronically ill. Pharmacists can take on way more important duties, helping seniors with all types of conditions. They can be more involved in the citizen’s life, and helping the various day-to-day tasks that come with living with chronic illnesses. From assisting with symptom recognition and management to determining treatment efficacy, pharmacists are a crucial cog in the long-term care machine.