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What is a Geriatric Pharmacy?

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  • Written By: Pamela Pleasant
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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A geriatric pharmacy specializes in the care and medical needs of senior citizens. Elderly patients have specific needs because they are at risk for many age-related diseases and conditions. Many senior citizens take prescription drugs or other medications for chronic conditions. A geriatric pharmacist specializes in dispensing these medications, as well as making sure they will not create harmful drug interactions.

The geriatric pharmacist performs the same duties as the average pharmacist, but he usually specializes in working with older patients. He labels medications and notes how they should be taken. This type of pharmacist can also work to ensure the safety of elderly patients. For example, he may explain how the prescribed medications can be dangerous if they are taken along with over-the-counter drugs. He may also explain drug side effects and what to do about them.

In order to be considered a geriatric pharmacy, the facility must be geared to help older individuals. Certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and hypertension can be common among elderly patients, so a geriatric pharmacy must be fully aware of the medications to treat these conditions and how they affect the body. Since older patients are sometimes unable to be cared for at home, a geriatric pharmacy may be found in hospitals, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes.

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Some geriatric pharmacies in assisted living facilities may also provide consultations. In fact, many pharmacists who help elderly people are referred to as pharmacy consultants. Instead of only doling out medications, they may concentrate on how to improve the overall quality of life for the elderly patient. Stressing the importance of taking certain types of medications consistently is also important. If a prescribed medication is not taken every day, the drug may produce harmful effects and may do more harm than good.

To provide the best care for aging individuals, a geriatric pharmacy and its employees usually must work with the family members and caregivers of their patients. They must educate patients and their caregivers about changes in medications or therapies. As a patient continues to age and experience disease progression, new techniques may also need to be incorporated. Planning for the future of the patient and preparing for potential problems is an important aspect of the job.

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