In the private sector, inpatients typically have to make a trip to their local pharmacy to get prescriptions filled after being discharged from the hospital.
For a patient who just wants to get home, it can be an additional stressor or inconvenience.
At the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center (JCMVAMC), prescriptions are filled by the in-house pharmacy department and personally taken to the inpatient’s room by a VA Discharge Pharmacist.
Jessica Daniels, PharmD, who is one of two discharge pharmacists at JCMVAMC, said Veteran’s appreciate the personal touch and convenience of receiving their prescriptions before they leave the hospital.
“We pick up their discharge medications and as a courtesy, we bring them up to their room,” said Daniels. “They don’t have to go to a pharmacy and wait in line. They can go straight home if they choose.”
The pharmacists also provide one-on-one education with inpatients, so they know which medications they will be taking and the instructions.
“More times than not, when a patient is discharged from the hospital their medications have changed or their doses have changed,” said Daniels. “We let them know what’s going on with their medications. We let them know what medications have been discontinued so they don’t go home and continue taking the same thing. We also talk about drug interactions if it applies.”
To ensure patients understand, Daniels said she asks each patient to verbalize the instructions back to her.
“Patients receive a medication list and I make notes on it,” said Daniels. “But there is no substitute for verbal education. If they’ve heard it once and then go home and read the medication list, it’s going to confirm what they thought.”
Daniels has several important tips for patients before they speak with a provider or pharmacist about their medications:
1) Be proactive with your own health care. Speak up and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
2) Be an advocate for your own health care. The provider or pharmacist can’t help you if you do not understand. Don’t sit back. Let us know if you do not understand.
3) Don’t hesitate to have something repeated. If the provider or pharmacist is talking too fast, or if you can’t hear them, please let them know.
Veterans who need to refill their prescriptions can call the automated refill line at 918-577-3918 or 1-888-397-8387, ext. 3918 (from outside the Muskogee area). Or Veterans can refill their prescriptions online via My HealtheVet: https://www.myhealth.va.gov/.