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Getting To Know All The Ways Your Pharmacist Can Help You

They’re there for you in more ways than you think…

By Courtney Hardwick

Doctors’ appointments are notorious for being inconvenient, time-consuming and all-around inefficient. While they can’t always be avoided, you do have options that don’t involve taking time off work to sit in a waiting room. Pharmacists, like the ones at Rexall, are one of the most accessible healthcare service providers available, but there is a lack of awareness about what they can do beyond just filling prescriptions. In addition to dispensing medication and providing information on prescriptions, your pharmacist is also qualified – and happy – to help you with your health goals. While their scope of practice varies by province, some of the services your Rexall pharmacist can provide include:

Writing, renewing and adapting prescriptions
You know you need to visit the pharmacy when you need a prescription filled, but did you know that your pharmacist can do more than simply hand over the right medication? Regulations vary by province so you should talk to your local Rexall pharmacist to get the details, but here are a few prescription-specific services your pharmacist may be able to offer:

  • Authority to prescribe medications for minor ailments (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick)
  • Independent prescribing authority (Alberta only)
  • Adapt previous prescriptions that were written by a doctor (most provinces)
  • Help you stop smoking with counselling and prescription medication (all provinces except BC)
  • Extend and renew existing prescriptions if you’re unable to meet with your healthcare provider

If you have any concerns about your current medications, your Rexall pharmacist can help you learn more about your options and advise you on whether you should make the time to talk to your doctor.

The pharmacist will gather all relevant information from the patient to assess the appropriate next steps, if an intervention is necessary for example, and review options with the patient so they can make an informed choice.

Medical device training
Whether you need an inhaler, blood glucose meter, epinephrine auto-injector or a variety of other medical devices, pharmacists can provide training on how to use it properly. They’ll also give you tips for making sure your device is functioning as it should and when to replace it, and they can answer any questions you have along the way.

Administer travel and routine vaccines
All Rexall pharmacists take part in a certification process that includes injection training, live workshops, first aid and CPR training. Under provincial legislation, pharmacists can administer certain vaccines such as the flu shot and the shingles vaccine to adults and children over a certain age.

Headed overseas? Pharmacists can provide travel advice for low-risk areas and recommend the right vaccines for particular destinations. They can also administer most travel vaccines on the spot. *

Point-of-care testing
For a bacterial infection like strep throat, the faster you start taking antibiotics, the faster you’ll start to feel better. While walk-in clinics or making a doctor’s appointment are an option, in BC and Alberta your Rexall pharmacist can provide point-of-care testing for strep throat. If you test positive, your pharmacist can then prescribe or recommend an appropriate antibiotic and/or symptom control medication for you to feel better sooner (Alberta only).

Your Rexall pharmacist can also help guide you through performing and understanding the A1C test to capture your average blood sugar levels over a three-month interval (most provinces except Manitoba and Saskatchewan). This convenient test can save you a trip to the doctor’s office and diagnostic lab, and will help you fully understand the ups and downs of your blood sugar levels so you can make informed decisions about your diabetes management plan.

Medication counselling and management
Given that pharmacists take more pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutic classes than any other healthcare professional, it makes sense to go to them for advice on anything from the best over-the-counter medications and natural supplements to alternatives to current medications. Rexall pharmacists have a wide variety of medication management tools available and they’re happy to recommend options that will work for you. To support you in taking your medications as prescribed by your primary care provider, they can offer:

  • Auto Refill: When you sign up for Auto Refill, your Rexall pharmacist will automatically remember to refill your prescriptions so you don’t have to. If you are taking multiple medications, the pharmacist can sync them together, so they are refilled at the same time.
  • Med Organizer: Your Rexall pharmacist can provide you with your medications in individualized, seven-day blister packs, which conveniently sort your medications by date and time to be taken. This helps to take the guesswork out of knowing how and when to take your medications each day.
  • Med Review: A one-on-one sit-down with your Rexall pharmacist to review your medications and health goals.
  • Rexall Reminder: Sign up for Rexall Reminder and get a notification via text message, email or phone call as soon as your prescription is ready for pickup.

If you have questions, stop by your local Rexall to talk to your pharmacist about how they can help support you and your health goals.

* Valid prescription may be required.

COURTNEY HARDWICK is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Her work has appeared online at AmongMen, Complex Canada, Elle Canada and TheBolde.

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