Pharmacists key in cardiac rehabilitation

Pharmacists are key to cardiac rehabilitation, the SHPA has said in highlighting pharmacists’s role for Heart Week (1-7 May).

“For heart attack survivors, one of the important benefits of participating in cardiac rehabilitation is that they are more likely to take their medicines,” says SHPA CEO Kristin Michaels.

“This helps recovery and reduces the chance of another heart attack,” she says.

Michaels says that pharmacists have a key role in the interdisciplinary cardiac rehabilitation team.

“People who have had a heart attack will have an array of new medicines to take,” she says.

“Pharmacists help patients understand their new medicines, how to manage them and how get the most benefit from them.

“Patients attending cardiac rehabilitation have been recently discharged from hospital and are faced with many new medicines. This is why the role of the pharmacist is critical.”

Michaels says many patients attending cardiac rehabilitation have never taken medicines regularly.

“In this setting, pharmacists can help to improve adherence by demystifying patients’ fears, helping them to remember their medicines with daily reminder tools and suggesting suitable dose administration aids,” she says.

“Pharmacists can provide further education in a calm environment, help patients to understand possible side effects, identify any drug interactions, and clarify any misunderstanding about dosing.

“They can also resolve any ongoing issues and concerns, by liaising with patients’ primary care providers and hospital specialists,” she says.

She says cardiac rehabilitation is a proven method to help patients make lifestyle and other changes.

“It is an important step for patients who have survived a heart attack as it significantly reduces their risk of readmission to hospital or death from another heart attack. All health professionals have a role to play in encouraging heart attack survivors to attend cardiac rehabilitation,” she says.

“SHPA supports pharmacists to improve their ability to make a contribution to cardiac rehabilitation through our annual two-day cardiology seminar, our expert group, the Cardiology Committee of Specialty Practice, and the cardiology discussion forum which provides an online community for members who have an interest in or work in cardiology.”

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