by Mark Stolow
“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers. And those who will need a caregiver.”
- Rosalyn Carter
How can you help your pharmacy team nurture an optimal partnership with caregivers?
These numbers paint a stark picture:
- 8,100,000 family & friend caregivers in Canada
- 70-80% of all chronic care is assumed by the family.
- By 2040 the number of Canadian caregivers will double.
Caregivers are at increased risk for chronic disease and have higher mortality rates.
- 40-70% have clinically significant symptoms of depression.
- 1 in 10 report worsened physical health.
- 72% report not going to doctor as often as they should.
Caregivers are more likely to neglect their self-care.
Here’s what we learned after talking to caregivers about their experience in pharmac
- 83% said they picked up medication for someone they were caring for.
- 50% said they always pick up medication for the person they are caring for.
- 55% say that the pharmacist knows they are a caregiver.
- 73% say the pharmacist never or rarely asks them about their role as a caregiver.
- 78% say the pharmacist is important or very important in making them feel competent and confident in managing medication for the care-recipient.
- 80% do not use the same pharmacy as the person they are caring for, also do not use the same chain.
How important is the caregiver to pharmacy practice? Caregivers have great influence, from the choice of treatment, to picking up medications, ensuring adherence, refilling prescriptions if needed, and paying expenses.
Pharmacists can play an important role in helping caregivers. You can support them in self-identifying and getting them to seek out help. You can initiate a dialogue with caregivers about their state of physical and psychological health and help make caregivers clients.
You can become their partners in healthcare. How? Acknowledge that caregiving is a significant responsibility and job. Recognize caregivers as peers in the process of care, and actively include caregivers when communicating information about the illness, its management and treatment.
Caregivers often very isolated and alone as they provide care. Relationships to most healthcare providers are sporadic and fragmented, so there’s a lack of continuity. Caregivers feel under-recognized or invisible within healthcare system interactions so they want and need to be acknowledged.
For pharmacists this can mean a big win in terms of building brand loyalty.
Mark Stolow is the founder and CEO of Huddol, offering people-powered solutions to life’s greatest health challenges.