When we talk about Long term care, it involves a variety of services designed to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during a short or long period of time. When people are no longer able to perform everyday activities independently, these services can help them remain independent and safe.
Long-term care is provided in different places by different caregivers, depending on a person’s needs. Most long-term care is provided at home by unpaid family members and friends. It can also be given in a facility such as a nursing home or in the Community Pharmacy.
Long-term care pharmacies provide medication regimens to patients over an extended period. Long-term care pharmacists recognize that their patients may require medications for the long haul rather than assuming that all medications prescribed for them are intended to treat acute conditions. As a result of these differences in expectations, Long term care pharmacists strive to build long-term relationships with patients to ensure they receive the right medications at the right time. Thus, the pharmacist will know the patient’s medical history and can often handle much of the regular testing the patient would normally get from their doctor, making it easier to monitor their health without frequent doctor visits.
Typically, long-term care pharmacies serve patients with chronic diseases, requiring continuous medication to meet their medical needs, even when several concerns overlap. In contrast to a retail pharmacy, a long-term care pharmacy can help patients monitor their health over time.
The Long-Term Care Pharmacy arena is booming, and you’re not alone if you provide services in this area or plan to expand. With the first baby boomers choosing long-term care facilities as their residences, Long term care pharmacies are well positioned to absorb the tremendous growth projected over the next decade.
The growing need for assisted living facilities and similar alternative housing communities gives Long term care pharmacies a chance to play a more significant role in managing patients’ healthcare needs, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. You must remain technologically secure and operationally sound during a public health emergency. Regardless of the environment, your services let facilities know that they can rely on you.
Most retail pharmacies sell over-the-counter medications and other items because they are open to the public and intended for a broader customer base. In addition, retail pharmacies provide prescription medication directly to patients after a short consultation to determine whether the patient has any questions.
A long-term care pharmacy, on the other hand, does not sell convenience items and is not open to the public. Long-term care pharmacists must coordinate medication with the facility, the care provider and the patient, review each prescription to make sure it is not contraindicated with any other medications taken by the patient, meet packaging and delivery requirements, and be ready to deliver medication whenever needed.
Long-term care pharmacies ensure that patients receive the right medications, at the right time, in the right dose. In new payment and delivery models such as accountable care organizations (ACOs), bundled payments, and value-based purchasing, this mission is becoming increasingly complex and crucial to facilitating efficient, high-quality outcomes for patients, providers, and payers. Achieving success in these models means improving patient outcomes and reducing unnecessary costs, especially those associated with avoidable hospital admissions. Long-term care pharmacies play an important role in providing effective care for seniors and the Administration should be aware of the challenges they face as healthcare delivery systems rapidly evolve.
Despite the breadth of services and value provided by LTC pharmacies to LTC facility residents, they face a number of federal policy and related market challenges that threaten their sustainability. The most significant issues confronting LTC pharmacies (and, depending on the specific issue, all pharmacies) are:
To conclude, Long term care pharmacists are an essential providers for the aging population residing in Long term care facilities. Their clinical skills in concert with regulatory and operational knowledge provide them with a unique set of capabilities to serve this vulnerable patient population. As independent pharmacy owners are looking to expand their businesses and assess possible opportunities, long-term care pharmacy may merit investigation. In general, long-term care pharmacies are best suited for people with ongoing health conditions or who have multiple medications to treat multiple ailments simultaneously. Based on the demographics in the United States and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, the long-term care market is expected to see sustained growth. Because long-term care facilities need services from and relationships with pharmacies, the opportunity for Long term care pharmacies is likely to be significant.
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