Written by Lori Blain, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Frail Seniors, Abbotsford Home Health

One of the ways Abbotsford is enhancing primary care is through a pharmacist working with GPs in the community.

The health care system is changing. People want health care that is accessible, coordinated and understandable – no matter where or by whom they are cared for. In our Transforming the Health Care System series, we share the stories of how we are changing the system and achieving positive outcomes for people and health care providers in our communities.

As part of our work to shift to a model that focuses on prevention and wraps services around patients, each community in Fraser Health is redesigning primary and community care services to create teams to work more closely with patients, their GPs and other care providers. In Abbotsford, pharmacist Lori Blain is one key part of this community-based care. For the last year she has been partnering with four family physicians at two clinics to individualize the medication regimens of seniors and monitor the impact of any medication changes. Recently, two community retail pharmacists have joined the case discussions with the family physicians.

The best part of the job is working with older people to gain an understanding of their perspective about their health issues and medications, provide information and then come up with a plan incorporating what we’ve both learned. Sometimes changes can be made to simplify their medication regimen that don’t involve a change in prescription. It is also very satisfying to be working with family physicians who are keen to ensure their patients are taking appropriate doses of appropriate medications.

One patient was initially referred to me by a family physician for an in-home medication assessment. This led to a small number of changes in her medication regimen. Over several months, she was increasingly frail and less able to attend in-office appointments with the family physician who occasionally visited her at home. I visited her to assist with monitoring her response to medications and reviewing medication changes after each of her discharges from hospital.

When the results of these visits led to further adjustments in medication, required changes to her blister packs were facilitated with her community retail pharmacy. To help ensure the care provided was as holistic as possible, I also spoke with other Home Health professionals, including her community care professional, home care nurse, rapid response resource RN and rehab assistant to "compare notes.” The fact that we all worked together was taken for granted by the patient since it seemed logical to her that we do so.

Read more about how we’re redesigning primary and community care services across Fraser Health.

How are you transforming the health care system? Tell us in the comments. Read more stories about how we’re changing the health care system.


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