Title

Pharmacy and Homelessness: The State of Pharmaceutical Care, Overcoming Barriers to Medication Therapy, and Serving Homeless Patients in Montana

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Homelessness remains a prevalent problem in the United States, one that requires attention from all sectors within a community. Acting as one component of a multifaceted support system, pharmacists can play a crucial role in keeping homeless patients as healthy as possible while their lives are in transition. The purpose of this paper is to present pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy students, and other health professionals with an explanation of the interaction between health and homelessness in the United States, an examination into the unique problems the homeless patient population faces in attaining pharmaceutical care, and a number of proposed solutions to these health care problems. Pharmaceutical care for the homeless is occasionally mentioned in literature for physicians, but few bodies of work exist dedicated solely to the pharmacy-homelessness interface. Literature from the past ten years was reviewed for information pertaining to the topic and that information was assembled for a pharmacy-based audience. In order to apply national issues to local organizations, three qualitative interviews were conducted in person or by phone with pharmacists at community health centers in Montana. A direct comparison of the three pharmacies was difficult at best, due to differences in operation and variation in the characteristics of the homeless populations in their cities. Rather, the services provided at each pharmacy and the challenges perceived in each patient population by the pharmacists were assessed to apply solutions that are individually suited to each community for optimization of care. The findings of this research can introduce health professionals who will interact with the homeless to a humanistic perspective that will mesh with their existing therapeutic knowledge, assisting in fostering the overall physical, mental, and social wellbeing of these patients.

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Apr 12th, 11:00 AM Apr 12th, 12:00 PM

Pharmacy and Homelessness: The State of Pharmaceutical Care, Overcoming Barriers to Medication Therapy, and Serving Homeless Patients in Montana

UC Ballroom

Homelessness remains a prevalent problem in the United States, one that requires attention from all sectors within a community. Acting as one component of a multifaceted support system, pharmacists can play a crucial role in keeping homeless patients as healthy as possible while their lives are in transition. The purpose of this paper is to present pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy students, and other health professionals with an explanation of the interaction between health and homelessness in the United States, an examination into the unique problems the homeless patient population faces in attaining pharmaceutical care, and a number of proposed solutions to these health care problems. Pharmaceutical care for the homeless is occasionally mentioned in literature for physicians, but few bodies of work exist dedicated solely to the pharmacy-homelessness interface. Literature from the past ten years was reviewed for information pertaining to the topic and that information was assembled for a pharmacy-based audience. In order to apply national issues to local organizations, three qualitative interviews were conducted in person or by phone with pharmacists at community health centers in Montana. A direct comparison of the three pharmacies was difficult at best, due to differences in operation and variation in the characteristics of the homeless populations in their cities. Rather, the services provided at each pharmacy and the challenges perceived in each patient population by the pharmacists were assessed to apply solutions that are individually suited to each community for optimization of care. The findings of this research can introduce health professionals who will interact with the homeless to a humanistic perspective that will mesh with their existing therapeutic knowledge, assisting in fostering the overall physical, mental, and social wellbeing of these patients.