A gateway to self-care

Encouraging self-care among your patients will allow them maintain health with or without the support of healthcare providers, says FIP

In the face of increased economic pressures compounded by a shortage of healthcare professionals, self-care can help ameliorate some of these pressures, says the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).

Pharmacists are at the frontlines of developing initiatives to support self-care, it says in its latest report.

They assist patients in better health maintenance, greater health system efficiency and greater economic efficiency.

“Pharmacy is changing from a product-focused profession to one that is patient-focused – a profession that works more collaboratively with patients and other health providers,” says FIP.

“The pharmacy profession can be considered a gateway to care, where pharmacists support individuals in their self-care.

“We already know that patients self-manage problems to a large extent, but encouraging more people to exercise greater levels of self-care, either for acute or chronic problems, could shift costs away from professional care because minor changes have significant potential to affect demand for formal healthcare,” it says.

“Health literacy will help release the power of self-care.”

Pharmacists can encourage self-care among patients by:

  • Ensuring information provided to patients is evidence-based, objective, understandable, non-promotional, accurate and appropriate;
  • Developing educational materials for health management, health promotion and disease prevention programs;
  • Educating patients on how to evaluate healthcare information;
  • Assisting patients and carers to obtain and critically analyse health information;
  • Engaging in preventive care activities that promote public health and prevent disease, e.g. smoking cessation, STDs; and
  • Providing point-of-care testing and other screening activities for those at high risk.

“Community pharmacies are no longer a place where prescriptions are filled; there are an integral part of the health system with increasingly better-trained staff,” says FIP.

“It is also widely acknowledged that pharmacists are continually raising standards in terms of accessibility, convenience and capability.”

The organisation adds that as a principle, all pharmacists should receive reimbursements for their clinical services, being established healthcare providers.

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