How Community of Hope, a Maxor Managed Pharmacy, integrates behavioral support in pharmacy care
by Damon M. Gilliam, PharmD
At Community of Hope, the integration of behavioral support starts with establishing a positive relationship with our patients. One of the most common things I hear from patients with mental health needs is that no one listens to them.
My overall goal is to improve medication adherence and increase patients’ quality of life. In order to do that, I need to build a level of trust with each patient that will allow us to comfortably have a conversation about their medication concerns and determine what type of support is best for them moving forward. I try to do this at my initial point of contact with the patient or caregiver. Sometimes this may be during a phone conversation, but most of the time it is at our in-person patient consultations when they are picking up their medication. I try to customize my interaction to the patients’ needs at that time.
Our goal is to ensure that our patients feel welcomed and leave knowing that we care.
I also try to make the moment more personable by connecting with the patient through something unrelated to pharmacy. For example, when I saw one of our patients wearing a t-shirt of one of my favorite singers I allowed that to be our ice-breaker/bonding moment before I commenced the conversation about her medications.
Once we have established that relationship, it is important to…
- Actively listen to the patient
- Address their concerns
- Describe key takeaway points
- Follow-up with them when necessary
In addition, we perform medication reviews, inform them of mental health hotlines, and encourage patients to call the pharmacy if they have questions. Our goal is to ensure that our patients feel welcomed and leave knowing that we care.
Most patients live within a couple of miles from a pharmacy. Having our pharmacy involved in the support of mental health has had a tremendous impact on the community. It has improved patient medication adherence, helped establish healthier lifestyles, and made patients more comfortable talking about and investing in their mental health.
Knowing the backstories of our patients, when they first started coming to the pharmacy and seeing how much they are thriving now because of our pharmacy’s support for mental health, is extremely rewarding and will always makes me smile.