What can my pharmacist do for me?
Pharmacists are the most accessible of all healthcare providers – many pharmacies are open 24 hours a day, and pharmacists can often provide services and consultations without the need for an appointment.
As my medication therapy manager
Pharmacists are drug therapy experts and are responsible for comprehensive medication therapy management. Make your pharmacist part of your health team by getting her/him to:
“I have multiple sclerosis which has really changed my world. My symptoms vary, but I can always rest assured that I’m getting good, sound advice from all the staff at my local pharmacy. I’m greeted with a smile, and all my questions are answered. For a person with this condition, it means a lot for me be certain about the advice I’m getting.”
Bill, North Battleford
- assess and select appropriate prescription and non-prescription medication
- manage your long term medication usage
- counsel you in chronic disease management
- monitor and review your medication record or patient profile
- ensure medication dosage accuracy specific to you
- detect any possible drug interactions
- check for possible side effects
- screen for allergies to the prescribed medicines
- check for duplication of therapy
- determine whether the drugs prescribed will interfere with any medical condition you may have
- educate you on all aspects of your medication including how to take your medication, side effects and proper storage instructions
- answer all questions related to medication usage, disease management and health promotion
- provide individual consultation on difficult, private, personal or family health care issues
- give you advice on ways to reduce your symptoms without drugs
- keep a comprehensive and up-to-date computer record of your medications
When I need assistance to remember taking medication
If you have more than one medication to take, are you having a hard time with the quantities and times that are different for each of them? Do you sometimes forget if you already took your dose? Your pharmacist can help with compliance packaging: a wallet or card of daily medications separated by the time of day.
“Shortly after the birth of our first child, I developed complications that required a number of medications. The pharmacist could tell I was feeling overwhelmed and took the time to write out a personalized schedule to help me sort it out and minimize any interactions. He was very kind and made a big impact on me.”
Convenient and easy to use, this packaging:
- organizes all your prescriptions, vitamins, and supplements all in one place.
- gives you, or your caregiver, the confidence that you take your medications as planned by your doctor.
- clearly shows when each dose of medication should be taken.
- comes in a secure, easy to open package – no more struggling trying to open vials.
- is easy to take with you.
- helps to keep you on track with your wellness goals.
Prescribe some drugs
That's right! The laws in Saskatchewan have been changed to allow pharmacists to issue prescriptions under certain circumstances where they are trained to do so. This is known as Prescriptive Authority.
Qualified pharmacists can prescribe some drugs, working in close collaboration with your doctor, such as:
- for minor ailments or conditions. Get more specifics with this FAQ.
- for emergency prescription refills
- to renew/extend prescriptions
- to change drug dosage/formulation
- to make a therapeutic substitution
- if your pharmacist believes a minor condition can be better treated with a prescription rather than an over-the-counter medicine.
Many of your questions are answered in our FAQ on this subject, check it out!
Visit the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists (SCP) public education campaign My Pharmacist Knows for more information about Prescriptive Authority regulations and your pharmacist's essential role in the delivery of your health care.
Do you know which types of injections your pharmacists can administer?
Pharmacists in Saskatchewan can now administer vaccines to patients over the age of 9, and most other injections to patients over the age of 5. Some examples of the types of injections that pharmacists can administer include but are not limited to:
- mood stabilizers,
- travel vaccinations such as hepatitis A and B,
- influenza, pneumonia, shingles and HPV vaccines.
A one-on-one assessment of my medications
Are you getting the most out of your medication? Be sure with a medication assessment by your pharmacist!
Watch this video to find out why!
If you are 65 or over and are:
taking 5 or more long-term medications
taking warfarin or other medication commonly referred to as blood thinners
experiencing side effects from your medication
You may be eligible to participate in the Saskatchewan Medication Assessment Program (SMAP).
Meet one-on-one with your pharmacist to:
- discuss and improve the safety of your current medications
- screen for issues you may be having with your current medications
- provide options to help you remember to take your medications as intended by your doctor
- answer your questions regarding your medications
- review your current conditions
- ensure all your health issues are being addressed
- educate you on options to improve your health.
This program is funded by the Ministry of Health for beneficiaries of the Saskatchewan Drug Plan.
For more details, check out our Frequently Asked Questions on this subject!
Pharmacists work in many settings, including hospital, long term care homes and other healthcare facilities. Hospital and long term care pharmacists provide collaborative and team focused care as they attend to patients alongside physicians, nurses, dieticians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, surgeons, other healthcare professionals and family members. This is done to ensure that medication usage is safe and effective from all perspectives of health care.
Hospital pharmacists perform traditional pharmacist roles, such as confirming the appropriateness and safety of medications, ensuring that patients are taking the optimal dose of medication, and monitoring for side effects and sensitivities. They also:
- Initiate treatment by prescribing the most suitable drug and route of administration (tablet, injection, cream, etc.) for complex medical conditions;
- Participate in team based care or "rounds" to monitor patients and adjust their medications based on their progress;
- Communicate with patients, family members, and community pharmacies to ensure ongoing safe and effective treatment is provided after hospital discharge.
When I am discharged from the hospital
If you have been in hospital and are being discharged back into the community or into another healthcare facility, your pharmacist provides a medication reconciliation. This process ensures that you leave the facility with the proper medications needed for your medical condition(s).
Because of the eHR Viewer, pharmacists are now one more health care provider who can access the results of most lab tests performed in Saskatchewan. This access helps ensure that every prescription is the safest and most effective option for each health condition.
For more information on the eHR Viewer, click here.
To help me quit smoking
Stopping smoking is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your health, but can also be a very difficult task and there is no single quit method that guarantees success. You could try quitting cold turkey, use nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medications, self-help books, or counselling; in all cases the help of a pharmacist can greatly increase your chances of quitting and staying that way.
Trained pharmacists are able to provide tobacco cessation counselling services through PACT: Partnership to Assist in the Cessation of Tobacco.
Your pharmacist can help you figure out when and why you smoke, assess your readiness to quit and help you decide what will work best for you to succeed. Through personalized one-on-one sessions, you get help in choosing a QUIT day and appropriate nicotine replacement therapy (such as gum or patches) or arrange for prescription medication with your physician. The program also provides you with counselling and tools you may need to help manage cravings, withdrawal symptoms and most importantly provide support during the process and follow-up after you have quit.
An affiliate of the PACT program, TAR or Tobacco Addiction Recovery, focuses on Sacred Aboriginal Tobacco use.
Services offered within participating pharmacies are offered at no charge to the patient.
As my health care advocate
Involve your pharmacist to:
- consult with physicians, nurses and other health care providers about your medication on your behalf
- recommend that you see a physician to improve health or prevent health complications
- provide tools within the pharmacy that will allow you to monitor your health and seek help when needed
- ensure convenient payment of medications through on-line billing to private insurance companies.
In my health care facility
In health care facilities, pharmacists:
- go on "rounds" to assess your health with other professionals like doctors, nurses, dieticians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, surgeons and others
- ensure the safe and effective usage of medication
- work toward optimal disease care management and your health promotion
- provide many other patient care services in collaboration with the other members of your health care team.
Pharmacists with additional training can prescribe emergency contraception. Patients requiring emergency contraception can inquire with their local pharmacy for certified ECP pharmacists.
Many pharmacists have taken specialized training to be able to offer health services such as:
- diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other chronic disease care management
- anticoagulation and drug level monitoring
- screening for high blood pressure, colon cancer, osteoporosis, high cholesterol
- herbal and natural health product recommendations
- addiction management
- in-home consultations
Pharmacists offer many more patient care services. Talk to your pharmacist about what services they have available to you.