August 17, 2020 Ashley Struble

Putting Patients In charge Of Their Care

From a Specialty Pharmacy Liaison: While reviewing a patient’s new outpatient oral chemotherapy regimen, I noticed she seemed relieved to have our additional assistance here in the hospital's specialty pharmacy. When I reached further into her worries, she described how out of control her treatment felt after leaving the hospital.

While she was inpatient, she felt that someone was constantly monitoring her side effects and checking her vitals. After moving back home she feared that she would’t catch changes in symptoms or side effects. She wished there was a way to monitor any changes at home. Fortunately she chose to fill her prescriptions with us so I filled her in on all of the home-care services she could receive without any additional cost.

One side effect that can be managed and monitored by every patient at home is blood pressure. So the pharmacy team reached out to see what we could do for the patient. We were able to provide her with a blood pressure monitor, and she was immediately put at ease because she was able to take back control of one important aspect of her therapy.

She and I discussed goals for her blood pressure, caveats of measuring blood pressure, using the same arm consistently and keeping feet uncrossed and flat on the ground. We also discussed keeping a log of her blood pressure measurements to bring into the doctor when she returned to the clinic for appointments.

When we ended the conversation the patient sounded on the verge of tears. She told me that when the hospital's specialty pharmacy team calls to check in on her she loses that fear of moving her care to the outpatient, home setting. She was relieved to know she had another line of defense for her questions and concerns, which helped settle her fears.