Pharmacists Should Be Considered Part of the Care Team for Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease

Pharmacists should get out from behind the glass from time to time and work with chronic kidney disease patients to better understand their medications and lifestyle decisions, said an analyst who spoke at ASN Kidney Week in Orlando, Florida.

Curtis Warfield, MS, discusses with Pharmacy Times about the different ways in which pharmacists can help patients with chronic kidney disease modify, or adapt, their lifestyle to have more successful outcomes while transititioning to a life of managing this disease, and how they can be a more helpful presence in the patient's daily life.

Q: What aspects of lifestyle do you think are the most feasible to create positive change in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients? (i.e diet vs. Exercise vs. Sleep)

Curtis Warfield, MS:The most feasible way of changing lifestyles is to talk about diet and exercise. Also to expand a person’s knowledge of what your care team should be it’s not just nephrologist and the nurse- it includes the pharmacy and the pharmaceutical area. They know a few more things than really a doctor does when it comes to medication and stuff. I think that’s the easy part of getting that education out, is expanding your care team.

Q: What products and services do pharmacies offer that can help CKD make better lifestyle decisions?

Curtis Warfield, MS: As I came to know about what the pharmacist can do, they offer service for not only just handing out pills, but they can consult with you As far as how to manager medication, if you’re not feeling right, if you’re taking new medication, if there’s been a change- you can talk to your pharmacist and they will know. The pharmacist will know what’s going on with you and your medication, so they can make some changes That may be more beneficial to you.

Q: There is the saying “lead by example.” What can local pharmacists and health care providers do to inspire active change in CKD patients?

Curtis Warfield, MS: I feel that what local pharmacist can do to inspire change is get out and meet with the person when they are pharmacists. I don’t think they have to do that all the time, I understand that they are busy, but talk with the person just to say “hello.” introduce themselves and let them know what a pharmacist can do, how they can be of real big help to you, and not just the person behind the window basically hands out medication for you. So I think if they get out introduced themselves a lot more explain more with the pharmacist can do it would be a real benefit to a pharmacist as well as people who need medication.

Q: Closing Thoughts?

Curtis Warfield, MS: I’m going to back to it and say we need to really address mental health in CKD. it’s a thing that people are being stressed out about, and it’s a thing their caregivers are being stressed about which is causing friction in the family. If we can get more people involved in the mental aspect, I think that would be a big help to a lot of people, especially when first being diagnosed. Second, going through the stages and coming into a dialysis situation, and even into transplant as well as post-transplant, I think we need to stress and get a more involved in mental care.