Throughout October, the Pharmacy Department at Craig Hospital is commemorating American Pharmacists Month. At this time each year, the nation recognizes pharmacists for the vital contributions they make to health care through improved medication use and advanced patient care. Activities at Craig Hospital’s Pharmacy Department include brown bag events, where employees, volunteers and patients can get their medication questions answered, an ice cream compounding event and the “dispensing” of candy treats.
In May, the 24-member Pharmacy Department marked its 10th year in service to the Craig Hospital community. Currently the department includes 12 pharmacists, seven pharmacy technicians, five pharmacy interns and two fourth-year pharmacy students who are doing rotations.
When physician’s orders are received, Pharmacy Department employees determine whether the drug is safely dosed, check for drug interactions and allergies, suggest potential order changes to physicians, and ensure that patients receive their medications. A pharmacist is a Patient Care team member, and meets weekly to review each patient’s condition and monitor medication use, dosage, effectiveness, side effects and lab results. This dedicated inpatient pharmacy service provides superior patient care because the department specializes in medications that treat traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Through the Medication Integration Program, Pharmacy Department staff teach newly injured inpatients about managing their medications. Topics range from basics on medication storage and refill procedures to patient advocacy, understanding prescription drug coverage and managing drug costs.
“We want patients to understand and be involved in their own care. The Medication Integration Program is about helping patients be as prepared as possible to manage their medications once they are at home,” says Amy Goldstein, R.Ph., M.S., director of Pharmacy Services. “Whether we make a difference by helping make an appropriate medication substitution, helping a patient understand their medications or by saving the patient money, the direct result is better patient care—and that’s what drives us.