Being aware of a medication brand, dosage and how often to take prescribed medications is important. If a patient doesn’t understand their medication schedule, it can lead to delay in a patient’s health progress and treatment. For many patients, not knowing who to talk to or what to ask about their medications is common.
The Pharmacy at Community Hospital Long Beach now provides a hotline for patients to ask questions about their medications. While in the hospital, patients have 24-hour access to pharmacists, who provide personal consolations on medications over the phone.
Originally, the Pharmacy provided consultations for one hour a day, believing it would lead to proper patient satisfaction and safety. After discovering the benefits of providing around-the-clock consultations, the Pharmacy expanded its hours.
“The main benefit is that it’s comforting to a patient,” says Tom Jones, director, Pharmacy Services, Community Hospital Long Beach. “If they have questions about their medication usage, they can direct those questions to a pharmacist who’s best and most prepared to answer them.”
Often when receiving medications, patients may not fully understand necessary management, while others may not feel comfortable asking questions. The hotline allows a more discrete and comforting way for patients to get their questions answered. Whether possibly forgetting to ask a question the first time around, or asking a question when a new issue arises, pharmacists are always prepared to give patients personalized and prompt help.
Being aware of medication information can help medical professionals in an emergency. It’s estimated that several thousands of Americans die annually due to preventable medication errors. The Institute of Medicine recommends that patients become actively involved in managing their medications, which includes compiling an up-to-date list of all medication, keeping it on them and understanding all medications and their use.
Patients have expressed their appreciation for the hotline service and its 24-hour availability. “I love that we can provide this type of support to patients,” says Jones. “A lot of people can be intimidated when they’re in the hospital, and we give them the freedom to ask questions without worrying.”
For more information, call the hotline at (562) 933-2100.