Pharmaceutical Care

Pharmaceutical Care

Pharmaceutical care is the responsible provision of drug therapy to achieve definite outcomes that improve a patient’s quality of life. These outcomes are: 

• Curing a disease, 

• Elimination or reduction of a patient’s symptomatology, 

• Arresting or slowing down a disease process,

• Preventing a disease or symptomatology. 

Pharmaceutical care involves the process through which a pharmacist co-operates with patients and other professionals in designing, implementing, and monitoring a therapeutic plan that will produce specific therapeutic outcomes for the patient. This, in turn, involves three major functions: 

• Identifying potential and actual drug-related problems. 

• Resolving actual drug-related problems.  

• Preventing drug-related problems. 

Pharmaceutical care is a necessary element of healthcare and should be integrated with other elements. Pharmaceutical care is, however, provided for the direct benefit of the patient. The pharmacist is directly responsible to the patient for the quality of that care. The fundamental relationship in pharmaceutical care is a mutually-beneficial exchange, in which the patient grants authority to the provider and the provider gives competencies and commitment (accepts responsibility). The fundamental goals, processes, and relationships of pharmaceutical care exist, regardless of practice-setting. 

Medication is the most frequent intervention within healthcare systems worldwide.  Achieving the best possible outcome of medication for the quality of life of patients should be the primary aim of all health professionals involved in the medication process, as well as caretakers and patients, depending on their abilities and capacities. 

Often, the benefits of medication cannot be realized in patients (e.g. due to treatment failures), and even worse, considerable mortality and morbidity are related to the  inappropriate use of medicine use, for example: 

• Inappropriate prescription (“prescribing errors”). 

• Inappropriate delivery (“dispensing errors”/ “administration errors”). 

• Inappropriate patient behavior (“non-adherence with treatment regimen”).

• Inappropriate monitoring and reporting. 

• Patient idiosyncrasy. 

• Lack of (medication-related) health literacy in the public. 

Pharmaceutical care is a quality philosophy and working method for professionals within the medication process. It is indispensable for helping to improve the good and safe use of medicines, thus realizing the best possible outcome of medicines for the patient. It contributes to the optimization of outcomes from medicines and the prevention of harm and inappropriate use. This is achieved through the promotion of medication-related health literacy, the involvement and participation of patients in their medication, and the assignment and acceptance of responsibilities appropriately within the medication process. Together, these factors improve the quality of life of patients and their families, the utilization of resources, and help reduce inequalities in healthcare. By increasing the cost-efficiency of medicine use, pharmaceutical care will contribute to the efficient and effective consumption of existing resources.

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