I am sure you will all agree with me if I say that packaging is very important for pharmaceuticals and often, whether a medicine is elegantly packaged or not could mean the difference between its commercial success or failure. Similarly, the success or failure of a counseling session may depend, among other things on the environment where counseling is taking place.
In a community pharmacy setting, there should be a cubicle where privacy or atleast semiprivacy is available for the patient and the pharmacist where they can conduct the session comfortably. In a hospital setting, for outpatients, there should be a big room, where a good number of pharmacists are available, to give counseling to patients. This is because, in all big hospitals, quite a big number of patients come everyday for OP and it is not possible for one or two pharmacists to give them counseling. In hospital wards, the pharmacist may stand by the side of the patient's bed and give him counseling. (1)
The area where counseling is taking place must be neat and clean. There should be enough furniture like tables and chairs. Noise pollution should not be there. Drug information books like USPDI volumes, CIMS, Journals of hospital pharmacy , a computer with databases and most important of all, information to be told to the patient in a processed manner, ready in the form of just one card or sheet for each medicine should be available in the patient counseling room. When a pharmacist is doing counseling, if he gets a doubt, he should be able to quickly refer a sheet of prepared material, with which he is already acquainted.
Any audiovisual aids will add to the impact of counseling. Models and charts that are seen in the rooms of doctors may be used here also. If we do counseling based on a brochure/pamphlet and then give it to the patient- it would be perfect.
To old people, we must clearly tell at what time points they should take the medicine. We must ask them for their daily routine and work with them about how they should space their medicines.
For example, suppose a middle aged lady comes with medicines in her hands to the counseling room. In her medicines, there is an antihypertensive, an antibiotic, vitamins and oral iron medication. After giving all other aspects of counseling and after discussing her routine with her, we may fix the following schedule for her.
Take the antihypertensive half an hour after breakfast, in the morning, say at 8.30 am.
Take the antibiotic one hour after the antihypertensive, at 9.30 am. (This is to avoid possible drug interactions between the two, since antihypertensives are especially known to have pharmacokinetic drug interactions with many other drugs.).
Take the vitamins after lunch.
Take the antibiotic at 9.30 pm. (For antibiotics, even spacing in time is important and completing the course is important).
Take the oral iron at 10 pm before going to bed.
So, I conclude by saying that the environment in the counseling room must be very soothing and pleasant so that the advice given by the pharmacist becomes effective and results in better healthcare.
1. Proceedings of the National seminar on Clinical and Hospital pharmacy, 17th and 18th October, 1999, page 37.
This blog is not containing any plagiarized material.
Bad Patient Counseling Example