Find a registrant or pharmacy

Find a registrant Find a pharmacy

Search the website

Help me with...

Patient assessment and providing care

April 16, 2024
Pharmacy professional helping patient with ACP logo and text saying
Learning the standards: what the patient care process looks like.

Providing patient care—it’s a big chunk of what pharmacists and pharmacy technicians do every day. It’s also a key element of ACP’s draft Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians (SPPPT).

The current SPPPT has separate standards to address the activities that regulated members perform when providing care. Examples of these activities include dispensing medications, adapting prescriptions, prescribing medications, and administering injections. As part of the draft SPPPT being considered by Council, these activities are grouped together in one domain: Patient assessment and providing care. In the new SPPPT, every activity begins from the same place, with an assessment of the patient.

“We wanted to make the standards person-centred and not prescription-centred,” said Jeff Whissell, ACP Deputy Registrar. “You always want to begin with the person in front of you. Once you’ve had the opportunity to form a patient relationship and understand what the patient needs, then you can look at the tools in your toolbox. Based on the pharmacist’s assessment, the pharmacy team performs an intervention, works collaboratively with the patient, then follows up. And you continue the cycle. It’s a cycle of continuous care.”

When care is delivered with a focus on assessment of the patient rather than the prescription, there are benefits to the patient and the pharmacy team.

“The draft standards and, specifically, this domain, naturally align with what regulated members are currently doing,” said Jeff. “Regulated members have said to us that they want the standards to support them in their practices. The draft standards enable the workflow of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and move us to a state where we see care provided continuously and that it’s followed up on. It’s a long-term relationship between the pharmacy team and the patient.”

Monitoring and follow up are key aspects of providing patient care and are featured more prominently in the draft SPPPT than in the current standards. Jeff says monitoring and follow up provide pharmacy teams the opportunity to ensure that their plans for patients are working as intended.

“Ongoing assessment through monitoring and follow up are critical,” said Jeff. “When you engage with your patient, you collaboratively create a plan for their care. The plan may be simple or complex, but it always requires monitoring and follow up. You need to monitor if the plan is having the impact that you thought it would, both in terms of efficacy and any side effects. Is the intervention succeeding in helping patients achieve their goals?  Has it met their expectations? Those things can affect the patient in terms of their willingness to follow through with the plan. You need to have that ongoing discussion about what it is you have been monitoring with the patient so you can follow up and make change where appropriate.”

When regulated members put these concepts of providing patient care into action—with the focus on patient assessment—the result is optimal, ongoing pharmacy care for Albertans.

“We already know that Albertans are becoming more and more reliant on their pharmacy teams,” said Jeff. “Thinking about care as a continuous cycle that enables Albertans to receive ongoing care from their pharmacy team. We see that as a benefit, especially as their needs become more complex. Forming stronger relationships with patients is a good thing. This will help improve the quality of care Albertans receive and provide even more access to the care they need.”

Watch for more on the draft standards in future editions of the Link.