The Pharmacist-Caregiver Relationship
The Pharmacist-Caregiver Relationship
In the past year, pharmacists have played a pivotal role in helping to administer and encourage COVID-19 vaccinations — especially among older adults at a higher risk for serious infection. As community-based providers of health care, pharmacists play a critical role in your loved one’s health.
While older adults traditionally lean on pharmacists for their vaccination and medication-related needs, this group is placing greater trust in and becoming more reliant on pharmacists when seeking additional resources for care. According to the Health Care Insights Study by CVS Health, 36 percent of respondents age 65 and older typically use their pharmacist to gather health care information or advice (the highest of all age groups surveyed).
As a caregiver, it’s important to recognize that you can lean on your loved one’s pharmacist as a trusted resource. Knowing the right questions to ask and being aware of the resources available to your loved one through their pharmacist can help you ensure your loved one is well cared for on their health journey.
Ensuring continuity of care for older adults
We often refer to primary care physicians (PCPs) as the backbone of the health care system; however, pharmacists play an equally important role in between routine checkups and specialty visits. With approximately 85 percent of older adults living with at least one chronic health condition and 60 percent having at least two chronic conditions, pharmacists can help ensure medications are filled and answer follow-up questions on disease management after your loved one visits their PCP. A strong relationship between your loved one and their pharmacist is critical to ensuring medication adherence and improving health outcomes.
In most locations across the country, CVS Health® pharmacists utilize technology to enable coaching and counseling based on gaps in care identified by the patient’s health plan for patients that are at high risk for not taking their medications as prescribed or having negative outcomes. Trained pharmacists in all CVS Pharmacy® locations can use the Pharmacist Panel to help them provide appropriate counsel to patients, either in store or by phone. For example, the Pharmacist Panel may prompt the pharmacist to deliver targeted messages on behalf of the patient’s health plan, such as:
- Suggesting ways to boost medication adherence.
- Educating about vaccines, screenings, labs and lifestyle changes.
- Connecting the member to other resources within their health plan, such as care management and prescription home delivery.
By helping build a strong connection between your loved one and their pharmacist, you can feel more at ease as your loved one’s caregiver knowing they’re on the path to better health.
Leaning on your pharmacist as a trusted resource
Studies show that people interact with their pharmacist up to ten times more often than their PCP. While many might turn first to their loved one’s PCP, a pharmacist can also be a great local resource for answering top-of-mind questions. Not sure what to ask? Here are some suggested questions for your local pharmacist:
- What do I do if I can’t get my loved one a refill before their next appointment?
- How can I remind them to take their medications?
- My loved one is going to be traveling; what do I do about their medications?
- This medication is making my loved one feel side-effects, like nausea. Are there any remedies or alternative medications?
- Can my loved one drive while on this medication?
- I can’t drive to pick up my loved one’s prescription. Do you deliver?
- Can I order online or through the mobile app?
- What preventive screenings should I consider for my loved one?
- What vaccinations should I consider for my loved one?
The pandemic significantly accelerated the need for more convenient care — which starts in our local communities. According to a report from Altarum, it takes more than half an hour for patients to travel to health care appointments, followed by 11 minutes of waiting — times that haven't changed over the past 11 years. Now more than ever, it’s critical that caregivers and their loved ones have access to care when they need it and where it’s most convenient to them.
With nearly 85 percent of Americans living within 10 miles of a CVS Pharmacy, local pharmacists can serve as trusted and accessible resources for older adults and their loved ones — especially in light of shifting health care trends. In fact, our Health Care Insights Study found that 69 percent of respondents 65+ said they can get from their pharmacist added support and resources.
That’s why we hope you’ll consider taking advantage of the many resources your local community pharmacist can provide to your loved one. While it’s essential to keep up with routine care and specialty visits, pharmacists also can play a critical role in helping your loved one maintain good health.
For other helpful resources for your older loved ones, including tips for choosing a 2022 Medicare plan, visit: https://i.care.ly/aetna-medicare or call 1-844-588-0135 (TTY: 711), 7 days a week, 8 AM to 8 PM. A licensed agent will answer your call.
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