Hospice and Pharmacy: The Real Story
By John Bullard, RPh, Texoma LIVING WELL Magazine
There are often some misconceptions regarding the use of medication at the end of life. I would like to take some time to help clarify the role of pharmacy in regards to hospice care.
First, let’s define what hospice organizations do. Hospice and palliative care organizations provide end-of-life care to treat more than a million people across the country each year. For people facing a life-threatening illness, hospice provides compassionate, expert medical care as well as spiritual, emotional support for patients and their loved ones. Hospice focuses on improving the quality of life by providing the medical management of pain and other symptoms related to a life-threatening diagnosis.
An interdisciplinary team consisting of a physician, nurse, social worker, chaplain and a pharmacist drives hospice. The role of the pharmacist in hospice care has many facets and is considered an integral part of the interdisciplinary team process. The pharmacist provides valuable education and training in drug management to ensure patient needs are met.
Let me be clear: medical management in a hospice setting is to provide quality end-of-life care in which patient and family wishes are honored. Hospice is not a form of euthanasia, so please don’t let this misconception keep you or a loved one from considering this valuable resource for end-of-life care. In fact, one of the main reasons I decided to open Guardian Hospice was because of my passion to provide excellent end-of-life care for people.
As the owner and pharmacist at Parks Drugs for over 30 years, it allowed me the opportunity to develop close relationships with many of my customers and their families. During those years, I was able to counsel and offer support to many of them who were at the final hours of their lives. I felt it was an honor and privilege to be there and I saw how pharmacy and hospice are intertwined. Thus, the birth of Guardian Hospice, which is the only hospice in Grayson county with a pharmacy––Parks Drugs––affiliated with it as well as Bullard Home Medical, which provides durable medical equipment for our patients. I consider it a privilege and honor to serve the residents of Texoma. I have been, and will continue to be, committed to excellence in patient care.
John Bullard, RPh, is the owner of Parks Drugs, Guardian Hospice & Bullard Home Medical.