Atlantic General Hospital Pharmacists Play Vital Role in Improving Patient Safety
On October 17, Atlantic General Hospital’s pharmacy will begin offering
a multitude of enhanced services to patients and the nurses and physicians
who care for them during a stay in the hospital.
This includes expanding hours of operation for the pharmacy on weekdays
by six hours, to run from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“Many of our patients are admitted after 5 p.m., and they have medication
needs that include complex therapies as a result of the treatment ordered,”
said James McGinnis, director of pharmacy at Atlantic General. “We
expanded our hours so our pharmacy staff is here to help clarify these
therapies from a pharmacy perspective and serve as patient advocates.”
Upon admission and the request from a physician, patients will be interviewed
by staff pharmacists to create a comprehensive and more accurate inventory
of current medications, which can then be referenced at every point of
the medication reconciliation process during shift change or transfer
to another unit – thus improving patient safety by decreasing the
risk of medication error.
Patients receiving multiple medications will also receive in-depth education
from the pharmacy staff regarding the timing, dosage and purpose of the
medications prior to discharge to ensure that these individuals properly
comply with physician orders and remain on the road to recovery.
“Achieving a more patient-centered approach that allows the patient
to be an active participant in their healthcare vastly improves the success
of treatments and builds trust in the healthcare organization, which is
so important to the healing process,” said McGinnis.
Hospital pharmacies across the country are moving toward the patient-centered
model of care and away from strictly mixing and distributing medications;
Atlantic General Hospital is at the forefront of this movement on the Shore.
These changes are being implemented during National Hospital & Health-System
Pharmacy Week, which brings awareness to the critical role that pharmacists
play in preventing medication errors.
New services to be provided by the Pharmacy during these extended hours:
Medication Reconciliation – The Pharmacy team supports the staff
in performing admission and discharge counseling.
Resolution of Polypharmacy Issues – The Pharmacy performs drug therapy
monitoring for patient profiles that include eight or more medications.
Patient Medication Education – The Pharmacy supports the education
of patients when they receive new or unfamiliar medications.
Staff Drug Information Needs – The Pharmacy provides medication
in-services to the nursing staff for new and/or unfamiliar medications
that may appear on patient profiles.
Rounds participation – The Pharmacy staff are active participants
during Critical Care and Med-Surg morning rounds.
Pharmacists are experts on the thousands of medications available today,
how each one works in the body, and the ways to use each one safely and
effectively. Pharmacists who graduate today receive six years of education
focused on medication therapy, and many pharmacists practicing in hospitals
and health systems also complete post-graduate residency programs.
Nearly half of Atlantic General’s pharmacy staff have completed
residencies or have received advanced training.
About Atlantic General Hospital
Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the
residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) Counties
since May 1993. Built by the commitment and generosity of a dedicated
community, the hospital’s state-of-the-art facility in Berlin, Md.
combines old-fashioned personal attention with the latest in technology
and services. Atlantic General Health System, its network of more than
25 primary care provider and specialist offices, care for residents and
visitors throughout the region. For more information about Atlantic General
Hospital, visit www.atlanticgeneral.org.