has a real passion for pharmaceutical care and the desire to inspire change.As part of that desire this pharmacist from Climie's I.D.A. in St. Catharines, ON is spearheading a project designed to help seniors remember what medications they are on and when to take them. In 1996, McAnulty and public health nurse Françoise Hubley developed the Seniors Med-Safe Program to help the elderly understand and keep track of their prescriptions.
"There is no excuse for not providing good pharmaceutical care," says McAnulty
."I live, eat and breathe this stuff."
So far, about 89 pharmacies belonging to the Pharmacists' Association of the Niagara Peninsula
are helping nearly 30,000 seniors better manage their medications through the program.Seniors receive a medication records book, which is similar in shape and size to a bank book.Inside, the pharmacist helps them record personal information such as their physician's name and phone number, their blood type, drug allergies and any medical conditions they may have.Each senior also receives a pamphlet called "Knowledge is the Best Medicine," which includes information about how to take medication and questions to ask the pharmacist.
All the program requires from pharmacists is time, says McAnulty
, adding that he
is hoping to eventually get reimbursed for time well-spent."We are using this program to show third-party insurers and government that it's a concrete example of the kinds of things we are capable of and why we feel cognitive services reimbursement should be a major issue."
Funding for the program is provided by the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Canada
(PMAC), which distributes the medication books and pamphlets to pharmacists to deliver to patients free of charge. A past-president of the Pharmacists' Association of the Niagara Peninsula, McAnulty says he acts as a "spark plug" to get pharmacy excited about the program.He worked as a product manager for Glaxo Wellcome before deciding to go back to school to get his B.Sc.Pharm in 1991 at the State University of New York in Buffalo.
"I wanted to contribute something more," he
says."I thought I could help improve the profile of pharmacy and the community." McAnulty
says the program is helping patients become more aware of their medication and preventing doctors from overprescribing."We can't rely on patients to remember what medications they are on and how they are supposed to take them," says McAnulty
, adding that when a patient carries around this drug information, it can be shared among all healthcare professionals.
The program bridges the communication gap between pharmacists and physicians and prevents drug interactions and duplications, says McAnulty
."If the patient becomes unconscious, this [booklet] will speak volumes to the physician to guide treatment." The PMAC
has asked McAnulty
to speak to other pharmacists about implementing the program nationwide."Ideally, people within their community should step up to the plate and ignite the torch," he