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11 Articles in Volume 18, Issue #8
Challenges & Opportunities for Pain Management In Veterans
Chronic Pain and Psychopathology in the Veteran and Disadvantaged Populations
ESIs: Worth the Benefits?
Letters to the Editor: Recovery Centers Reject MAT, Cannabis for Chronic Headaches, Central Pain
Medication Management in the Aging
Pain Management in the Elderly
Pharmacists as Essential Team Members in Pain Management
Photobiomodulation for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Plantar Fasciitis: Diagnosis and Management
Slipping Rib Syndrome: A Case Report
What types of risk screening tests are available to clinicians prescribing opioid therapy?

Pharmacists as Essential Team Members in Pain Management

The Society of Palliative Care Pharmacists shares a vision for enhancing and acknowledging the pharmacist’s crucial role in chronic pain, palliative and hospice care.

In late 2015, 25 leaders working in pain management, palliative care, and hospice care founded the Society of Palliative Care Pharmacists (SPCP) to provide a platform for pharmacists practicing at the height of their profession. Pharmacist’s responsibilities in these specialties, in particular, have been established as “desirable and essential” roles that encompass leadership in optimal medication management that results in positive patient outcomes.1-6

In many ways, pharmacists are the gatekeepers to drug information, safe use recommendations, and harm-reduction
initiatives. In addition, we often provide direct patient care under collaborative practice models. The society’s goal is to coordinate and expand these efforts across the country through transdisciplinary development, research, and education.

Source: 123RF

Work to Date

As directed by its bylaws, the leadership within SPCP is equally distributed among pain, palliative, and hospice pharmacists. We are a small, yet growing organization—with just under 180 members to date—and we realize that it is a crucial time for all practitioners who work within these specialty areas to work together on optimizing patient care, creating and highlighting our role as integral team members, mentoring young pharmacists, and advocating for legislation and public policy impacting our profession and patients.

In a short time, SPCP has launched a quarterly newsletter; held its first preconference at the Annual Assembly in partnership with the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine; developed the first pharmacist job descriptions for the Center to Advance Palliative Care; provided educational webinars; established a Research Committee, Literature Library, and Resource Clinical Toolkit; submitted papers to the White House and the Opioids Task Force Commission; responded to the CMS proposal on Medicare changes to limit opioid prescribing; and represented the society at national pain and palliative care conferences.

We look forward to expanding our collaboration with organizations aligned with our mission and vision. We also hope to provide background and evidence to pain, palliative, and hospice care stakeholders to petition the inclusion of a pharmacist as an integral team member and increase the recognition of advanced practice pharmacists’ roles on a national level.

Advocacy, Policy, and Education

Specifically, SPCP will support the ongoing effort of achieving Pharmacist Provider status, including reimbursement for pharmacists’ provision of direct patient care. Our value should no longer be tied to the cost of a drug. Pharmacists have shown success in care and patient outcomes by leading in medication selection, monitoring medications, providing education to patients and other healthcare providers, and helping to improve symptoms (and side effects) as part of a multidisciplinary team.4-6 Additionally, pharmacists are increasingly involved in the prescribing of naloxone in the community setting.

To ensure inevitable growth of pharmacists practicing in this field, we will also advocate for national credentialing and privileging for pain, palliative, and hospice care pharmacists, including board certification. We will support the expansion of education encompassing these specialties starting with didactic and experiential curriculum in pharmacy schools, post-graduate training, and educational practice forums. Consensus guidelines for incorporating palliative care in pharmacy school curricula have already been established to thread concepts throughout the four-year doctorate degree.7 Post-graduate trainings are available and continue to grow in second-year specialty residencies in pain and palliative care and master’s programs.

In the era of the opioid epidemic, SPCP will continue to monitor legislative activity and advocate on behalf of patients with pain to ensure opioid access does not suffer at the hands of diversion prevention and harm-reduction policies. We strive to partner with other organizations that support our vision in supporting pharmacists’ involvement in pain, palliative, and hospice care, and most importantly, their role in the safe and optimal care of patients.

Last updated on: November 10, 2018
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