Friday, February 29, 2008

Love your pharmacist

Pharmacists and their technicians are often the most overlooked and under utilized part of the medical field. They can be a tremendous resource for you and your baby. If your baby is on a lot of medicines and/or a complicated regimen, than the pharmacists can be a life saver. Here are some tips to help maximize your experience with the pharmacy team.

1) Choose one pharmacy. Try and get all of your prescriptions from the same place. This makes it easier for you tell doctors where to send new prescriptions and it helps the pharmacists become familiar with you and your families needs. Where you go is entirely up to you. We choose a Target pharmacy because they have great service and I can get shopping done while I wait.

2) Refill services - find out if your pharmacy offers a service for fast and/or automatic refills. Some pharmacies allow you to sign-up for automatic refills so that your prescription is refilled within 5-6 days of the time it will run out. I haven't personally signed up for this service because I usually try to combine prescription pick-ups to eliminate extra trips to the store.

3) Ask for help - if you're confused about how or when to give a medicine - ask. That is what the pharmacist is there for. You can also ask about any side effects or potential issues with combining certain medicines together. The pharmacy staff can also help you with over the counter health items as well.

4) Give them information - people are naturally curious so if the staff asks you about your family, feel free to tell them. Once they know about your little miracle, they will often go even farther out of their way to help you. My pharmacy knows that I can't go out whenever I want so they will try and help me whenever possible.

5) Let them know about any medicine/medical changes - sometimes a doctor will have you change the dose of a medicine before the other bottle has run out. Make sure you get a new prescription from your doctor and give it to the pharmacist. If you run out too soon, your insurance won't let you get a refill so make sure they have any updated information.

6) Easy to use bottles - a lot of pharmacies are starting to use bottles that have special caps that allow you to put the syringe in the top, tip the bottle over and then draw out the medicine. This is the best thing I have found! At times I have to give my daughter up to 7-9 medicines at one time so these bottles make it much faster to draw them up. I know that Target uses this system as well as other pharmacies.

7) Supplies. Syringes will often start to lose their numbers after awhile. Don't be afraid to ask your pharmacist for more. They have plenty and should be able to give you some. Some places may charge a small amount for extras - try and find a place that will give them to you for free.

8) Mark the medicine - if you have more than one baby with a lot of medical needs, try and find a pharmacy that will mark medicines for each patient (such as color coding). If your pharmacy doesn't do that - I would recommend doing it at home with some color stickers or a marker. When you're in a rush you don't want to accidentally grab the wrong bottle.

9) Be friendly and patient - Just like with everything else, a smile goes a long way. Stop by and wave hi when you're there. Be patient if someone new is there and unfamiliar with your families needs.

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