Quality Standards and Practice Principles for Senior Care Pharmacists

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Senior Care Pharmacists (SCPs) are health professionals who assist older adults in making the best use of medications to attain the highest level of health and quality of life.

These Quality Standards and Practice Principles publicly state the elements that form the fundamental basis of the roles and responsibilities of SCPs and guide them in their relationships with clients/patients who are often a vulnerable, frail population, as well as with their families and/or caregivers and other health professionals as well as society at large.

The purpose of this document is to complement the current practice and professional standards of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) and to provide guidance to the members of ASCP and other pharmacists engaged in Senior Care Pharmacy practice.

The individual served by the SCP may be identified as a patient, resident, or client, depending upon the setting and context of care. Throughout this document, the term “client” will be used, although it is recognized that other terms may be appropriate.

Quality Standard 1 -- Identifying the Client/Patient

The primary client/patient is the individual who receives Senior Care Pharmacy clinical services.

Quality Standard 2 -- Promoting Self-Efficacy

SCPs recognize and respect the client's/patient's right of self-efficacy and self-determination and encourage them to participate in decisions about their health and care as appropriate, within the context of their situation. Whenever possible, recommendations should include education to promote health and wellness, as well as management of chronic illness.

Quality Standard 3 -- Client/Patient Right to Privacy: Protecting Personal Health Information

The client's/patient's rights to privacy and protection of private health information (PHI) are clearly outlined in the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These rights also extend to the client system. Potential limits of these guidelines are communicated with the patient/client or their appointed decision-maker. The SCP complies with all laws and regulations governing PHI to protect the privacy of all healthcare information.

Quality Standard 4 -- Definition of Role

Each SCP should define his/her scope of practice and role. SCPs have diverse educational backgrounds and skill sets. The SCP should conduct their clinical practice in accordance with his/her knowledge, skills, and training.

The Senior Care Pharmacist:

  • Takes responsibility for the medication-related needs of their patient/client.
  • Ensures that the medications are the most appropriate, the most effective available, the safest possible, and are used correctly.
  • Identifies, resolves and prevents medication-related problems that may interfere with the goals of therapy.
  • Seeks to improve quality of care and promote wellness.

The SCP promotes the concept of interdisciplinary care when appropriate.

Quality Standard 5 -- Continuing Education

The SCP participates in continuing education programs to maintain and improve their clinical knowledge base and skills, as well as other important aspects of professional development.

Quality Standard 6 -- Pharmaceutical Care Plans

The Pharmaceutical Care Plan is developed primarily to help the client/patient achieve the established goals of therapy for each of his/her medical conditions, illnesses or functional impairments/disabilities. The Pharmaceutical Care Plan considers the older person's changing physical and cognitive status over time. Constructing care plans is done in collaboration with the client/patient, other health care practitioners providing care to the patient and as needed, other members of the client system. The Pharmaceutical Care Plan includes findings, recommendations, goals and appropriate interventions to resolve drug therapy problems to meet these goals, and to prevent new drug therapy problems from developing.

Quality Standard 7 -- Quality Services

The SCP is actively involved in assessing the quality of services he/she provides, as well as client outcomes resulting from the SCP's delivered services.

Quality Standard 8 -- Fees for Service

Fees for service are developed and billed in an ethical manner, reflecting a fair representation of services delivered.

Quality Standard 9 -- Professionalism

The SCP designs his/her practice around high standards of professionalism. The SCP's first responsibility is to the client/patient and provides services based on the client’s best interests, even if it conflicts with the interests of the SCP or others in the client system.

Quality Standard 10 -- Legal Responsibilities

The SCP practice is conducted ethically in accordance with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations and business requirements.

This was approved by ASCP Board of Directors in July 2011

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