Monday | 04 May | 2020
Pharmacies play an important role in the battle against Covid-19 as usually people will visit their nearest pharmacy first before going to their doctor.
In these unusual times pharmacies must still be able to provide clients with valuable and accurate advice while still delivering an essential service. Many general practitioners might now perhaps have closed their doors and pharmacists have to fill this important role as well. However, as a result, pharmacists and their personnel might possibly also be more exposed to the coronavirus and special measures have to be put in place to protect not only the personnel but also clients.
Pharmacists now therefore have to do with clients who feel vulnerable and perhaps may be uninformed, which means pharmacists also have an educational task and have to help people remain calm and inform them properly.
As a result of the possible increased exposure, pharmacists must provide their personnel with protective medical apparel to keep them safe. They must also ensure that personnel go about their work with circumspection and inform the pharmacist should they suspect they have been exposed to the virus or possibly start showing symptoms.
Other measures also need to be put in place, such as indicators to ensure social distancing between clients. Personnel who are ill must stay home until they have recovered. Hand-sanitising products must be made available for use by personnel and clients. Transparent screens can also be attached to counters for further protection of personnel and clients.
Other measures include encouraging clients to pay with their cards instead of cash, a restriction on the number of clients allowed in the pharmacy at one time, and a delivery service to deliver essential medicine to clients’ homes. There is also the possibility of clients waiting in their cars for prescriptions or making a drive-through point available.
Pharmacists may in these times possibly also be more exposed to improper conduct by clients. It must at the outset be made clear to clients that no improper conduct against pharmacists and other personnel will be tolerated, regardless of the circumstances. The possibility of more cases of improper conduct is ascribed to, among others, the levels of anxiety and panic connected to the pandemic.
It is essential that pharmacists be transparent with their personnel regarding the risks connected to the work they do. Roles could possibly be adapted during this time so that personnel don’t necessarily work just with clients the entire day and in this way feel more exposed. It is also the ideal opportunity to expose personnel to other tasks in the pharmacy, which would in the long term expand their skills and could benefit themselves as well as the pharmacy.
The Pharmaceutical Journal: https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/cpd-and-learning/learning-article/how-to-keep-your-community-pharmacy-running-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/20207855.article?firstPass=false
* All information was correct at the time of publication.