A new study concludes that the inclusion of pharmacists on palliative care teams can reduce pain and save money. “The study shows the value of a collaborative approach in caring for patients at the end of life,” said Dharma Naidu, PharmD, from the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in California.
The study concluded that the team-based approach, which is often used in palliative care, was improved when a pharmacist was available to join the meeting.
At the start of the team-based program, the pharmacist consulted on the cases of 23% of patients who died in the hospital. The hospital then instituted a policy of automatically alerting the pharmacist about patients receiving palliative care. These alerts led to an increase in pharmacist consultations, to 70%. To determine the effects of this approach more definitively would require a prospective trial, said Joseph DiPiro, PharmD, from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy in Richmond.