Pharmacists are required to provide medication counseling to patients when they dispense a prescription, but standard counseling sometimes may not go far enough. Discussing the purpose, correct usage, and potential side effects of medication is important, but complex patients often need more involved patient-specific counseling. This form of counseling addresses all issues that could lead to a patient taking their medication incorrectly or stop taking it. While this form of counseling takes longer, it's a great tool for improving medication compliance. To learn which patients benefit most from patient-specific counseling, read on.
Patients Who Have Multiple Chronic Illnesses
Patient-specific counseling is most useful for people who are taking medication to treat multiple chronic illnesses. For example, a patient with hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and chronic low back pain may be prescribed multiple medications for each condition.
As the number of medications a patient is taking daily goes up, it becomes harder for patients to remember what each medication does and how they should take them, which makes medication errors more likely to occur. Patient-specific counseling goes over all of a patient's health conditions and prescriptions during each session to make sure that the patient is still able to keep track of all the medications they need to take each day.
Patients Who Can't Afford Their Medication
When it comes to medication adherence, medical issues aren't the only factor at play. Financial barriers can also make it difficult for patients to take their medication regularly. Patient-specific counseling goes beyond simply discussing the purpose and correct use of medications. It also explores non-medical factors such as financial stress that can be a burden on patients.
If a patient isn't able to easily afford their medication, you can ask the prescriber to switch to a generic version or replace the medication with a less expensive equivalent in the same drug class.
Patients Who Are Experiencing Side Effects
Prescription medications can cause side effects that can make it more challenging for patients to take their medication regularly. If the side effects become intolerable, a patient may stop taking their medication or start adjusting their dose downwards on their own. Patient-specific counseling takes a patient's experience with side effects into account when discussing medication.
Asking a patient about the side effects they're willing to tolerate allows you to work with the patient and the prescriber to find a dosage that will be acceptable to the patient while still being effective.
Ultimately, patient-specific counseling accounts for all potential pitfalls that can lead to a patient not taking their medications correctly. This includes medical factors such as the side effects a patient is experiencing along with non-medical factors such as a patient's ability to pay for their medication. By taking a wide view of the patient's situation, patient-specific counseling is a great tool for improving medication adherence for complex patients.
For more information about patient counseling, reach out to a local service.Share