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Pharmacist responds to resident and family
questions about prescription medications

Jun 14th, 2017

Once a week, as part of her job, Ashley Sawchuk (centre in photo) visits residents at Points West Living Stettler, but recently, the Pharmacare pharmacist took the time to come in and give an evening feature talk. In it, Ashley shared about her role in ensuring prescription drug safety for supportive living residents. 

Working to ensure that medication therapy is optimized

The May 30th meeting was the latest in a series of PWL Stettler Resident & Family Council presentations organized by General Manager Carol Dyck. “Ashley explained how she looks at each resident’s medications,” Carol says, “and works closely with LPNs, home care Case Manager RNs, physicians and other care partners to ensure that medication therapy is optimized.”

Appropriate use of anti-psychotic medication

“Ashley also explained about the Alberta Health Services Appropriate Use of Anti-Psychotic Medication project (AUA),” continues Carol. “This provincial initiative is working towards reducing the use of these drugs in resident populations. In the past 20 years these drugs were often used to calm agitated residents, especially those with dementia-related behaviours. Unfortunately it has been found that although they work often in short term situations they are not helpful for long term use, and families were concerned that they seemed ‘snowed’. By reducing the drugs we are finding great success in that there is little or no difference in behaviours and at the minimum they are taking fewer drugs. In some cases we have even seen an increase in awareness and a return to ‘their old self’.”

One-on-one answers

About 40 residents and family members took in the session, and several took advantage of Ashley’s offer to answer their questions one-on-one. MaryAnne Baltimore whose mother is a resident in PWL Stettler told Carol, “Ashley was very helpful. I knew that mom had a new medication but I didn’t realize what it was for. She explained it to me in very easy to understand terms.”

“Although Ashley doesn’t generally work with our independent residents,” adds Carol, “she sat down with Marie Brenchley to review the medications she is on. Marie greatly appreciated the extra effort that Ashley went to in researching her medications and helping her to understand them.”

Families appreciate the extra step

“Ashley was pleased to be able to come to this meeting and help residents and family understand Pharmacare’s role as a partner in care,” adds Carol. “I received great feedback from many families who appreciated that this extra step is taken in the review of medications by PWL and their partners.”

Photo: Pharmacare pharmacist Ashley Sawchuk (centre) with residents Jenny Gordon and Eileen Tschritter.

More photos at Flickr: Pharmacist responds to resident and family questions about prescription medications

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