Describing a Senior Care Pharmacist

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  • Senior care pharmacists have specialized knowledge in geriatrics, geriatric pharmacotherapy, and the unique medication-related needs of the senior population, which they apply in the provision of pharmaceutical care.
  • Senior care pharmacy practice is unique in that it is population rather than site specific.
  • Senior care pharmacists look at their patients holistically -- as individuals for whom quality of life and quality of care are mutually significant and necessary.
  • In cooperation with patients, caregivers, and other health care professionals, senior care pharmacists take responsibility for their patients’ medication-related needs by ensuring that their patients’ medications are the most appropriate, the most effective available, the safest possible, and are used correctly. This is accomplished by identifying, resolving, and preventing medication-related problems that may cause, aggravate, or contribute to common geriatric problem areas, or interfere with the goals of therapy.
  • An important goal of therapy is the achievement of the highest level of functioning possible. Senior care pharmacists apply their clinical competence, observational skills, and assessment expertise to ensure that the older patient’s medication regimen is not contributing to common geriatric problem areas that may lead to excess disability, loss of independence, and decreased quality of life.
  • Senior care pharmacists’ specialized knowledge in geriatrics encompasses diseases and conditions common in the senior population; geriatric syndromes or problem areas; medication-related problems that can cause, aggravate, or contribute to common geriatric problems; observational skills and assessment expertise; health promotion, disease prevention, and wellness; ethical issues, such as end of life care, informed decision-making, and death and dying; financial considerations for access to and delivery of health care services; the role of the caregiver and health consequences of caregiving; relevant cultural and ethnic considerations; and service delivery, including acute care, ambulatory care, long-term care, community based care, and geriatric care management.
  • Senior care pharmacists’ specialized knowledge in geriatric pharmacotherapy focuses on medications used to treat diseases and conditions common in the senior population, and encompasses age-related biologic, physiologic, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacodynamic changes and their impact on selection and dosing of medications; relevant gender and ethnic variations; medications potentially inappropriate for use in the older population; and identification, prevention, and resolution of medication-related problems.
  • Senior care pharmacists’ specialized knowledge of the unique medication-related needs of the senior population encompasses selection of appropriate packaging and dosage forms; adequate and readable labeling; understandable patient and caregiver information; unique barriers to adherence; compliance packaging; consideration of the role of the caregiver in medication use management; consideration of the patient’s functional and cognitive status in the pharmacist’s decision-making; and communication skills.
  • Senior care pharmacists develop, maintain, and enhance their clinical competence in geriatrics, geriatric pharmacotherapy, and the unique medication-related needs of the senior population through life-long learning, including post-graduate residencies and experiential traineeship; the current geriatrics literature; and continuing pharmaceutical education focused on geriatrics and senior care pharmacy.
  • Senior care pharmacists formalize their competency in geriatrics, geriatric pharmacotherapy, and the unique medication-related needs of the senior population through recognized certification and credentialing programs.


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