Building relationships leads to quality care
For 30 years, Edmonton’s Reg Prandle has been dealing with high blood pressure. In 2004, he had two heart attacks, which meant adding to Reg’s already long list of prescription medications. Included in his regimen were medications such as Ramipril, beta blockers, cholesterol medications, and others, right down to a daily dose of aspirin.
The problem was the combination of drugs and the doses involved were making Reg feel lightheaded. About five years ago, Reg saw pharmacist Manju Nagra for the first time.
It turned out to be a life-changing decision.
After a few visits for regular refills of his medications, Reg revealed to Manju how he was feeling and how he didn’t believe he needed to take so much medication. Manju listened to Reg’s concerns and conducted a full assessment.
“We looked at his previous history, bloodwork, blood pressure readings, called him at home to monitor trends at different times of the day; and, based on his symptoms and looking at different references, the doses seemed a bit high,” she said. “He was relatively healthy and didn’t have any additional risk factors. We felt he was taking too many medications and some of the doses needed to be tapered.”
Manju reached out to Reg’s doctor, hoping to collaborate and come up with a new approach for Reg’s therapy. After a few attempts and not getting anywhere, Manju recommended Reg see another physician she thought would be a good fit for him.
Reg agreed, and the new physician was much more open to collaboration. The result was a new plan that not only reduced the number of medications Reg was taking, but the doses as well. It’s led to an improved quality of life—he’s not lightheaded anymore, and his pill burden has been reduced. It’s the result of developing a trusting, professional relationship with his pharmacist.
“It’s a very important relationship,” Reg said. “I know that Manju would advocate on my behalf to my doctor. That’s what I need. She’s another person on my side. She’s honest and open with me about what I can and should do with regards to medication. I trust her integrity, that she’s a qualified pharmacist, and she’s doing a good job.”
Manju says it’s rewarding to know she made a difference for one of her patients.
“It’s nice to know you actually helped improve someone’s condition or quality of life,” she said. “I don’t think I did anything drastic, but we got things moving in the right direction to provide better care. It doesn’t happen overnight. It may take some trial and error to help a patient reach a goal. You have to be patient and persistent.”
Reg’s goal is to come off all medications, but for now, he feels better and has his pharmacist to thank.