Thanks to @zams123 for writing this blog
Nomads…also known as venalinks or usually blister pack dosette trays. We have 100 patients on them in our community pharmacy and I check 4 in a go so that’s actually 400 of them over a week!
I have a structured routine of managing the trays upstairs to managing the shop and dispensary downstairs in my pharmacy. However, the more busy the pharmacy gets, the checking process of nomads becomes trickier as it is a time consuming process.
A lot of healthcare professionals such as GP’s and receptionists don’t understand that this is a time consuming process. Especially when there are changes made to medicines. A prescriber will change it at the touch of a button on a computer, whereas the pharmacy staff require performing a surgical operation to the blister pack tray in order to make a change. I have encouraged receptionists and doctors to inform us ASAP if there are any changes made to medicines for tray patients, since recently a lack of communication by a GP resulted in a patient not receiving their medication on time.
It is very sympathetic when a tray patient is admitted to hospital, but this can be very frustrating if the pharmacy is not informed about it. The driver is unneccessarily wasting a trip to the patient’s house to try and deliver the tray. The medication is liable to change whilst the patient is in hospital, so if the pharmacy does not know, the pharmacist will check and seal 4 weeks of trays in advance…this will then lead to medicine wastage and extra manual work will take place to change the tray if any changes made.
Sometimes we aren’t even informed when the patient comes out of hospital until the day the patient runs out of medication. We need to chase up discharge summaries and request new prescriptions that need to be signed by a GP all less than 24 hours.
Checking trays can be physically stressful too. For example, your eyes are focused on every single tablet there is in the tray – this can be more eye straining when all the tablets are white! Basically at the end of the day I come home with red eyes. This process can also be physically stressful if you have to stand up and check – depending on how tall you are and the height of your checking bench, your back can be slouched and aches after a while.
Apologies if I put anyone off checking the trays! I just hope that communication improves between patients, GP’s, receptionists and pharmacists.