Following up on flood after effects

July 23, 2013

The flooding in southern Alberta caused incredible upheaval for individuals and businesses. Our sincere sympathy goes to all of you who experienced damage to your homes or workplaces. We also extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who is working so diligently to provide care for those affected by the flooding.

We have heard tremendous stories of pharmacy’s perseverance and compassion. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can be very proud of their role in helping Albertans through this difficult time.

The cleanup of this disaster will take time and a lot of cooperation to complete. Here are some suggestions to help you and your patients.

Be extra vigilant about follow up. Some physician offices and clinics have been closed as a result of the flooding, meaning that patients may not be getting the follow up, test results, or appointments they otherwise would. By following up with the patient, you can help nip problems in the bud. 
 
Watch for unhealthy reactions to stress. As people deal with the anxiety of being displaced or cleaning up the damage, they may turn to medications to help them cope. Adapt the questions on the Chat, Check, and Chart Pain Management (Opioid) tool card to help you screen patients and identify potential risk.

When providing care for a temporarily displaced patient, please:

Check Netcare to confirm the patient’s health history and determine appropriateness.
Follow the standards for prescribing in an emergency (Standard 13). Specifically, the pharmacist must:

  • personally see and assess the patient,
  • obtain sufficient information about the patient’s health status and disease or condition to make the decision to prescribe,
  • assess whether the prescription will cause a drug-related problem,
  • be satisfied that the prescription will not place the patient at increased risk, and
  • follow up and appropriately monitor the response to the drug prescribed.

As the duration of the recovery is unknown, consider providing patients an amount of medication up to the amount of their last dispensed event. This, of course, must be based on your assessment of the patient.
Communicate your actions back to the patient’s other health care providers as soon as possible. 

Look after yourself and those working with you. We recognize the burdens that these circumstance cause - the limited time you have to address all the issues you face; the challenges of looking after new patients with limited information; the limits to your physical and emotional energy; and the financial cost to deal with everything the flood has affected.

We know you are doing your best and just ask that you take steps to make sure you keep healthy and safe. We will continue to try to help by providing advice and direction to our registrants, and working with stakeholders to get records and infrastructure back in place as quickly as possible.

Need help? Call ACP at 1-877-227-3838 or 780-990-0321 or email us at acpinfo@pharmacists.ab.ca.

You and your patients may also find helpful information in Returning Home Safely After Flooding, a booklet with tips and contacts published by the Alberta government.


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