Sunday, June 14, 2009

Brown Bag It

How many people who are taking 2, 3, 4 or more medications would love to sit down for fifteen or thirty minutes with a pharmacist and just ask questions about the medications they are taking, the possible side effects they may have or, if there is a cheaper, or equivalent generic brand worth exploring? Chances are, many of us would like that opportunity to sit with a pharmacist but may never get it. Not until now.

We held our first “Brown Bag it” event with PULSE of NY and St. John’s School of pharmacy at the Freeport Memorial Library this past week.

It was wonderful to see young people wearing the lab coats escorting community members, usually senior citizens some with their walkers, to a table so they could spend time connecting and communicating. Joined by faculty, the pharmacy students, first, second through sixth year sat and listened and absorbed what the patient’s questions and concerns were and how their professor would gently pry information out of the guest and learn what their questions were through gentle, compassionate conversation.

One gentleman learned that the ringing in his ears, for the last five years may be because of the high does of medication. A few people brought bags, often more than one, filled with medications to show the pharmacist. Others brought their lists or the lists of family members.

While checking blood pressure the conversation would go to medications and medication safety for the guest or their family. More intimate settings were developed while taking the guests blood pressure which made for more informal discussion.

Some pharmacy students even got to practice their Spanish making the room more cultural friendly.

I am grateful for these opportunities where we can empower patients with information and making health care, patient safety and medication use less intimidating.

If you would like to join us, our next "Brown Bag It" is June 22, 2009 at the Wantagh Library.

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