July 3, 2008

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Meds Questions? Just Ask!

If you have ever had occasion to find yourself in the hospital for any length of time, chances are a pharmacist reviewed the medications you were taking at some point during your stay. Of course, you or your family members might not have had the opportunity to talk with the pharmacist because either you did not know it was a possibility or, if offered, you did not see the benefit.

I recently came across an awareness campaign launched by a professional organization called the American Society of Health System Pharmacists that is targeted at reminding people that they should “Just Ask”…The “Just Ask” message reminds people that a consultation with a pharmacist during a hospital stay is something they can request. The potential benefits are many – pharmacists are the medication experts and can answer all of your medication questions, coordinate any potential medication issues with your physician or physicians (multiple physicians are often the reason that medication problems occur) and help explain any changes to your medications which occurred during your hospital stay.

Transfers in and out of the hospital are among the most stressful and confusing health care transitions and many medication errors may occur as a result of missing or inaccurate information. Was this my old dose or my new dose? What new drugs did they start me on in the hospital? What special warnings should I be aware of? On top of all of the other non-drug questions and issues that come up after being in the hospital – this can be quite troublesome. The American Society of Hospital Pharmacists and I are reminding you to “Just Ask” and let your pharmacist answer.

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