As pharmacies look for additional revenue streams, branching out to long-term care facilities offers potential for growth and consistent income.  Long-term care facilities have residents who often need pharmaceutical drugs so partnering with local LTC facilities makes sense.

What is a long-term care pharmacy?

An LTC pharmacy is a pharmacy supporting residential facilities that serve seniors or adults who need ongoing care and support. Long-term care pharmacies:

  • Provide prescription processing
  • Handle dispensing and delivery
  • Offer medication and administration management
  • May provide disposal of medication
  • Are available to respond to emergencies 24/7

What facilities are served?

Most people are familiar with nursing homes and senior living facilities, but there are a variety of long-term care facilities. Long-term care pharmacies may cater to the needs of the following facilities:

  • Nursing homes
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Mental health facilities
  • Home healthcare agencies
  • Hospice care
  • Correctional institutions
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Pain management facilities
  • Adult day programs

These facilities have patients with an ongoing need for pharmaceuticals and medical services. The LTC pharmacy focuses on providing exceptional service to the staff and residents of the care facility. They monitor medications for each resident and can alert staff to potential drug-drug interactions. For example, most long-term care facilities have residents who need help with diabetes management, high blood pressure, and pain management. Their LTC pharmacy can offer additional resources and guidance to manage these conditions. On the other hand, residential facilities for psychiatric concerns need a pharmacist well versed in drug-drug and drug-food interactions when administering anti-depressants or anti-convulsants.

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What do LTC pharmacies do?

The main role of an LTC pharmacy is to provide residents with the right medications and ensure all medications arrive at the LTC facilities they serve. LTC pharmacies do not provide services and convenience items to the public. They focus solely on dispensing prescriptions and providing consultative services to LTC facilities in their area. LTC pharmacies also provide care facilities with quality assurance programs to guarantee medications are delivered accurately.

Pharmacists stay up-to-date on drug research and can provide counseling to long-term care facility residents. The LTC pharmacy may also instruct staff on how to properly administer the medication. In some cases, they may also provide diagnostic services and laboratory testing for blood panels.

Since they have access to the patient history and medication schedules, LTC pharmacies may help monitor patient health. For example, they can alert the staff to potential side effects for certain medications, providing additional insight into signs of a possible side effect or drug interaction. They can also follow up with the staff to monitor the patients’ wellness.

LTC pharmacies also provide medication packaging that improves convenience and patient compliance. Many LTC pharmacies offer strip pouches for added convenience and correct medication delivery. Strip pouch packaging can ensure that the patients will have the correct dose measured out for them. This makes the administration of the medication easier for the staff and improves compliance. LTC pharmacies also split pills to ensure accurate dosage, or to assist residents who can’t swallow large pills.

How LTC pharmacies support staff and caregivers

LTC pharmacies provide more than the medications dispensed in a long-term care facility. LTC pharmacies provide additional services such as:

  • Patient monitoring
  • Drug regimen reviews
  • On-site clinics
  • Medication packaging options
  • 24/7 staff support access
  • Emergency prescriptions

LTC pharmacies may also assist with compliance and adherence to ensure the residents receive quality treatment. The LTC pharmacy may monitor the physical condition of residents and their response to drugs, and they can review medical records for residents at the LTC facility. Keeping patients healthy goes beyond pharmaceutical drugs. Some LTC pharmacies can provide nutritional support services as well. Other services can include IV therapy services and fittings for surgical appliances.

LTC pharmacies also respond to any emergencies. They’re available 24/7. This means that if a resident in the LTC facility needs an emergency prescription, the pharmacy can make sure the resident gets the medication they need.

Benefits of an LTC pharmacy

LTC pharmacies provide great benefits to LTC facilities. Having a pharmacist as part of the care team benefits all the residents at LTC facilities. Since LTC pharmacies focus on the needs of the LTC facility, they develop in-depth knowledge of the specific health conditions that are most common in this population. Pharmacists can alert staff and caregivers to possible interactions, analyze resident symptoms, suggest further testing, or recommend a consultation with the resident’s primary physician.

The pharmacist may also monitor the health of the patients in the facility over time. LTC pharmacists get to know residents who live in the care facility and they gain insight into the patient’s history and health concerns. The LTC pharmacy can help care for residents of a long-term care facility with a chronic health condition. They provide them with the medications that they need and recommend additional testing when it seems that the treatment may not be working.

One of the benefits that LTC pharmacies can provide to LTC facilities is strip pouch packaging. This is a great option for residents of care facilities who take multiple medications each day. The medications can be packaged into a single dose that is taken in the morning or the evening. This makes it easy for staff to track medication compliance and makes it simple for the resident to take the prescribed dose at the right time.

LTC pharmacy automation

Dispensing and inspection solutions such as strip pouch packagers and medication detection machines will improve accuracy, increase productivity, and drastically improve pharmacy workflow.

Medication accuracy is extremely important, especially among residents of LTC facilities. That’s why LTC pharmacies use pharmacy automation systems to efficiently package and verify medications. Automation solutions from Noritsu offer innovative products that improve your bottom line while increasing the quality of care you can provide to your long-term care facilities.

We know there’s never a one-size-fits-all answer to your pharmacy needs. Contact us for a consultation. We’ll analyze your pharmacy’s workflow, and offer you multiple levels of technology to streamline productivity with solutions that make logistical and financial sense.

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