Pharmacists take the lead when it comes to helping patients manage complex medication-related issues.
In daily life, complexity results from countless factors. Culture, environment, social and economic status, and physical ability all contribute to and complicate managing ill health. Pharmacists bear witness to many of these complexities and increasingly must care for what have come to be known as “complex patients.” Recognizing the valuable impact that pharmacists have in the lives of such individuals, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is putting the care of complex patients at the top of the agenda for 2013.
It’s difficult to define a complex patient, yet it’s generally understood that the term applies to those who require an extra amount of care and consideration as a consequence of complicated and extensive medication regimens compounded by physical and mental limitations.
Current statistics suggest that complex patients comprise upwards of 25 percent of individuals in primary care practices who fulfill one or more of the following criteria:
As the most accessible healthcare provider, pharmacists come into continual contact with complex patients in the community, putting them at the frontline of care with regard to managing many issues that may or may not be medication-related.
With the goal of advocating increasing roles for pharmacists in the management of complex patients, and providing an extensive platform for learning and growth to do just that, FIP has made complex patients a priority for 2013. Taking place in Dublin, Ireland, the 2013 FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has adopted the theme of complex patients and will examine the issue from all standpoints: biological (emphasizing the current development of systems biology), medical (demographics, genetics, smoking, alcohol, diet and multiple diseases), socioeconomic (availability of resources, literacy) and cultural (beliefs, traditions, religion). Pharmacists have the ability and opportunity to support patients in every aspect of complexity.
Sessions within the Congress will address the needs of complex patients, how these needs are currently being met, and emerging and future strategies for treating the complex patient. By providing evidence-based scientific information and embracing collaborative practice, the pharmacist should have a critical role in dealing with complexity in patient care.
The 2013 FIP Congress will focus on how the pharmacist is ideally skilled and positioned to ensure that complex patients receive the best care possible. Featuring thousands of pharmacists from all over the world and from all areas of pharmacy practice and science, the FIP Congress will convene in Dublin to work toward a future in which multidisciplinary approaches maximize healthcare contributions for the full benefit of patients, despite their wide range of social, cultural, medical, biological and medical diversity.
For more information on the FIP Congress and its perspective on complex patients, visit the FIP Web site at www.fip.org/dublin2013.
As of 2011, the United Nations estimates that 5.6 million South Africans are living with HIV. Burdened by a shortage of mid-level healthcare workers, the South African Pharmacy Council has established new standards to better prepare students for marketplace expectations and to help improve the HIV/AIDS service delivery system. To surpass these standards, the Volunteer Healthcare Corps is recruiting an academic pharmacist to serve as a mentor at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Department of Pharmacy in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
For 3–6 months, the academic pharmacist will work on the frontlines of change to improve South African healthcare, providing curriculum development expertise and support, developing faculty teaching skills through formal and side-by-side training, and directly teaching students in their own area of expertise. Applicants should have a Pharm.D. or equivalent, familiarity with curriculum development, and at least three years of experience in academic pharmacy. For more information, visit http://www.twinningagainstaids.org/documents/ScopeofWorkNMMUPTA_PT100312.pdf.