Bangladeshi pharmacist reports on international workshop on the role of the pharmacist in palliative care

Categories: Education.

The workshop was jointly organised by Lien Collaborative for Palliative Care (LCPC) and Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore on 28 July, 2017. The main aim of this workshop was to identify the role and responsibilities of a pharmacist in palliative care.

It was a great pleasure to meet with the six pharmacists and one nurse, representing three different countries: Bangladesh, Singapore and India.

Rossilawati Sujak, who is a nurse working in Concord Cancer Hospital, Singapore, although not a pharmacist, participated in this workshop to understand the role of her pharmacist colleagues in patient care and also to learn about the importance of pharmaceutical care for a patient.

All the workshop sessions were very interesting and informative. It was facilitated by Lita Chew, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Department at National University of Singapore and Head of Pharmacy at National Cancer Centre Singapore, and his team.

I learned many new things by participating the sessions which were very important for me in terms of improving my clinical pharmacy practice. By attending this workshop, I got to know and have clearly understood the role and responsibilities of a palliative care pharmacist.

We took part in large group discussions, taking the chance to discuss latest palliative care knowledge and practice, and exchange views and experience.

Through this group discussion we identified that the primary duty of every pharmacists for their patients is pharmaceutical care, defined as: “the direct, responsible provision of medication-related care for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve a patient’s quality of life” (American Society of Hospital Pharmacists). The role of a pharmacist in palliative care can be broadly categorised as:

Provision of care to individual patient which includes:

  • Medication review
  • Medication counseling
  • Medication reconciliation
  • Assess and monitor response to drug treatment
  • Report drug related problems
  • Participate in interdisciplinary team discussion.

Overall management of medicine, for instance:

  • Supply and distribution, which includes sourcing and procurement, timely dispensing, packaging and labeling, extemporaneous preparation and sterile compounding, special pumps and devices for home administration and lastly access to medications.
  • Administrative, which includes drafting of policy, procedures and institutional guidelines, evaluating drug for safety and cost-effectiveness, liaise and maintain communication with regulatory and licensing authority.
  • Drug information, which includes creating and maintaining currency of educational resources for patients and health care professionals, advising about potential drug interaction/toxicity, informing and educating health care professionals on safe and effective medication use policies and processes.
  • Supportive responsibilities, including home visits, addressing financial concerns related to medications and ensuring safe disposal and in compliance with drug control and environmental protection laws and regulations.

This workshop gave us the platform to meet with like-minded colleagues and share our knowledge, skills, ideas and experiences which gives the

motivation to pharmacist to work for palliative care patients and their family more effectively.

Pharmacists are integral members of the palliative care team. So quality palliative care requires both traditional and expanded pharmacist activities.

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