On behalf of ACP, I would like to extend sincere appreciation to all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who have been on the front lines meeting the health and medication needs of Albertans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort and commitment to put patients first during a period of personal and professional uncertainty has been truly extraordinary. Adapting to provide new services and deliver old services differently, while protecting ourselves and others from the risks of COVID, all piggy-backed with the unique needs of our own families, has been difficult. Thank you for supporting one another so that together, you have remained accessible to support the health needs of your community.
Resilience will be key to continued success. Be respectful and try to understand the personal needs of each of your pharmacy team members. A ‘fit’ pharmacy team is required to continue meeting the needs of your community. Ensuring that everyone on your team remains physically and emotionally healthy will be important as demand increases in forthcoming months. Accept joint responsibility to practice and promote safe behaviours through physical distancing, use of face masks and other PPE as required, and frequent hand washing. Collectively, monitor your pharmacy environment and keep it safe with the appropriate physical structures and processes, and promotion and facilitation of safe client behaviour.
Fall 2020 will present increased demand for pharmacy teams. Asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 is a critical strategy to pandemic control, and we are fortunate that Alberta’s pharmacy teams are both recognized and positioned to support this strategy. Demands will be heightened as children return to school, and influenza season nears. Based on experiences in the southern hemisphere, it is expected that the fall influenza campaign will have even greater demand this year.
Therefore, your team should already be discussing how you will meet these needs. With increased demands come increased opportunity, and potentially increased stress. Plan how you can work better together. Are there additional resources you will need? How will you access them and how will you incorporate them? Above all, remain ‘in the moment’ for every patient, and ensure that the quality of care you provide to them is not put at risk in a haste to do more. Regardless of the demand that you are confronted with, quality and safety must come first.
Thank you for all you do to keep your patients, their families, and your communities healthy.