Most people know what a retail, or community, pharmacy is, but few understand what a hospice pharmacy does and how to choose the right pharmacy partner. If you’d like to know the difference between a hospice pharmacy and a community pharmacy, read the blog to find out.
What is a Community Pharmacy?
A community pharmacy, also known as a retail pharmacy, serves the general public by providing prescription and non-prescription medication and medical advice. The pharmacy’s services aren’t restricted to patients at the end of their life and they serve all individuals living in a particular community or region.
Most community pharmacies have a store selling non-prescription medication and medical supplies, in addition to a supply of prescription medication.
Community pharmacists are a great source of personalized medical information freely available to individuals on a walk-in basis. Those who can’t afford a doctor’s visit or don’t have time to spend in a doctor’s office can speak to a pharmacist free of charge.
Community pharmacies can be small and individually owned, or they can be part of large chains located in shopping malls and retail plazas. In the US, community pharmacies are more likely to be part of large chains and located in grocery stores. This is in contrast to pharmacies in Europe, which are more likely to be owned by a registered pharmacist. Restrictions on the number of pharmacies that can be owned by one individual make the existence of large chains impossible.
Who Needs Hospice Pharmacy Services?
Patients diagnosed with a terminal illness and expected to live no more than six months are often put on hospice care. The hospice care team includes the patient’s provider and pharmacist, who works to ensure the patient has the medication they need to manage pain and other end-of-life symptoms. Hospice pharmacy services are typically covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and most insurance plans.
What Services Do Hospice Pharmacies Provide?
Hospice pharmacies are just one piece of the hospice care puzzle. Hospice means the patient is no longer seeking a cure but would like to be treated for pain relief and other symptoms. Hospice services may also include medical care, emotional and spiritual support, which can be provided in the following settings:
- The patient’s or a family member’s home
- An independent hospice care environment
- A hospice program available through many hospitals
- Long-term care or assisted living facility with a hospice unit
Hospice pharmacies employ a team of trained pharmacists who provide medication therapy management (MTM), comfort kits, infusion therapy, and enteral therapy. There is some overlap between the responsibilities of a hospice pharmacist and a community pharmacist, such as:
- Talking to patients about their medicines and how they work
- Educating patients about which medicines can have bad interactions with each other
- Ensuring patients get the correct dose of medicine prescribed by their doctor
Hospice pharmacists work directly with doctors to optimize end-of-life care. They also oversee complex MTM cases, provide additional consultations for patients, and educate patients and family members about end-of-life care.
If you’re searching for a hospice pharmacy you can trust, look no further than Select LTC Pharmacy. We’re open 24/7 and are happy to assist you.