New Albany, Ind. – September 20, 2010 — Pharmacists will use National Hospital and Health System Pharmacy Week, October 17 – 23, to underscore the many new and vital roles they now play in patient care. The evolution has been especially dramatic in recent years as pharmacists have moved beyond compounding and dispensing medications to become vital members of multidisciplinary patient-care teams.
“Many consumers are not aware that pharmacists play a critical role in preventing medication errors, advising prescribers on the best drug choices, and working directly with patients and other healthcare providers to ensure they understand the safe and effective use of medications,” said LeAnn Doddridge, PharmD, clinical manager of Floyd Memorial’s Pharmacy Department. “Pharmacy Week is a great way to educate how pharmacists can help them get the most benefit from their medicine.”
Pharmacists are experts on the thousands of medications available today, how each one works in the body, and the ways to use each one safely and effectively. According to Doddridge, “Today’s medicines are extremely powerful and complex. They can be very helpful when they are used properly. However, if used improperly, they can cause serious harm, even death.”
Here are some tips that Doddridge offers to help prevent medication errors:
- Keep a list of all medications that you take including prescription drugs, nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal and nutritional supplements. Be sure to include the dosage you take and the frequency.
- Tell your healthcare provider how you actually take your medications, especially if this is different from the originally prescribed directions.
- Ask your healthcare provider if there are certain foods or beverages you should avoid while taking your medications.
- Request written information on the medications you take.
- Question anything you don’t understand or that doesn’t seem right. Be especially alert to unexpected changes, such as receiving a prescription refill that seems to have a different strength or appearance from your original prescription. Report any unexpected side effects that you experience to your physician.
- Show that you understand how to use your medication by repeating information about your prescription back to your doctor or pharmacist.
In honor of National Pharmacy Week, Floyd Memorial is offering a free medical information card that will fit in your purse or wallet. To receive your free card, call 1-800-4-SOURCE (1-800-476-8723).