As the baby boomer population ages, the pharmacy industry is trying to keep up with greater medication demands and different modes of administering care. The long-term care pharmacist is charged with the care of the aging and aged population.
Sometimes referred to as consultant and senior care pharmacists, long-term care pharmacists specialize in the care of senior citizens and people with chronic illnesses. These pharmacists are experts in medication therapy and are responsible for the medication needs of their patients. They are also responsible for making sure that the medications used by their patients are the most appropriate medications available and that they are as safe and effective as possible. Long-term care pharmacists also try to prevent medication-related complications that could interfere with the overall long term care insurance or therapy being provided.
There are more than 7,000 members of The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, ASCP, the association to which many long-term care pharmacists belong. ASCP strives to improve medications and thereby improve the quality of life of senior patients. Long-term care pharmacists also strive to improve the quality of life of younger patients residing in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospices, and psychiatric facilities. These are patients requiring long-term care due to chronic illness or life-long injury.
The pharmacies that a long-term care pharmacist works in dispense medications, intravenous drugs, and parenteral nutrition supplements used by individuals in long-term care settings. The care of a long-term care pharmacist’s patients is entirely based on the needs of those patients and the facilities in which those patients reside. In addition to improving the quality of life of their patients, long-term care pharmacists can also help insurance companies control pharmaceutical costs by providing the most cost-effective and the safest care possible.
Long-term care pharmacy is a good area of specialization for those in pharmacy school who would like to dedicate their work careers to improving the quality of life of elderly and chronically ill patients.