Preparing for Patients' Predicaments
Waterfront Family Pharmacy, a member of CPESN WV and Flip the Pharmacy participant is currently in the peak of the influenza and COVID-19 booster vaccination efforts. Every staff member at the pharmacy has been working tirelessness to get as many vaccines in arms as possible. While this has been a major focal point for our current community practice, we also have been looking for ways to provide not only for our patient’s health needs, but also their social and physical needs.
As part of the Flip the Pharmacy program, the pharmacy team has been working towards completing our goals related to social determinants of health. This allowed for us to sit down and assess the individual needs in our community and identify what gaps may be impacting our patient’s overall health goals. Many of the target areas that were proposed as possible limitations for our patients include hunger, lack of basic household necessities, possible homelessness, and lack of healthcare affordability. Due to the identification of these barriers, research into availability of various independent and state operated programs was conducted. These programs were researched online and then contacted to obtain additional information when required. Some of the community resources that were contacted also brought brochures to the pharmacy for us to provide to our patients. A list of program names, location, contact information, and outlined services was then complied into one document for easy accessibility and provided to the pharmacy staff so that they could utilize it as a resource.
While the pharmacy has not used this resource to date, many staff members that were not involved in the development process were very excited to have this resource available. Often, patients present to the pharmacy counter with many non-pharmacy related struggles. In the past, while the pharmacy staff was able to provide an empathetic comment and concern, staff members could not always provide a possible contact or service to patients. With this easy access guide, our pharmacy staff now have a tool to guide patients if assistance is needed. We strongly encourage other pharmacies to complete this exercise and identify resources within their own communities. The possible impact of altering the course of one patient’s life is worth it!
Written by Wyatt Kincell, PharmD Candidate, West Virginia University School of Pharmacy on behalf of Team CPESN West Virginia.