The hospice pharmacist is a full member of the hospice interdisciplinary team. High-quality hospice and palliative care includes pharmacists who:
- Evaluate medication orders and ensure timely delivery of effective medications for patients.
- Counsel and educate team members about medication therapy. Pharmacists advise members of the hospice team about the potential for drug interactions, drug dangers, and alternative and complementary therapies.
- Provide medication-compounding to make it easier for patients to benefit from medications. They can also eliminate or adjust ingredients that patients cannot tolerate.
- Resolve financial concerns. Hospice benefits usually cover medications, but if patients lack insurance coverage or benefits, pharmacists will work with drug manufacturers to provide medications through patient assistance programs.
- Ensure safe and legal disposal of all medications. Medications remaining in patients’ homes fall under a variety of hazard categories. Pharmacists help families with the removal of the medications from the home in accordance with federal and state drug control and environmental protection laws and regulations.
- Establish and maintain compliance with regulatory and licensing agencies to assure safe use and disposal of controlled substances.
- Pharmacists routinely review patient records and provide recommendations for drug therapies, and assure documentation in keeping with federal and state laws and regulations.
Pharmacists are vital to the hospice team and regularly attend interdisciplinary team meetings to review patient records and determine changes needed to maintain the best possible quality of life for patients in hospice care.