FORT MEADE, Md. – As the coronavirus continues to impact health care operations, staff members at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center (KACC) are observing National Pharmacy Week (Oct. 18-24) in a different way this year.
The recognition, commemorated annually on the third full week in October, acknowledges the invaluable contributions that pharmacists and technicians make to patient care in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and other healthcare settings.
This year’s theme “Pharmacy Strong” speaks to the resilience of the pharmacy profession, daily and in the midst of the current pandemic.
“With pharmacists and pharmacy technicians being the most accessible healthcare providers, it is easy to see why our roles before, during and after the coronavirus pandemic are so important,” said Dr. Constance Borden, a staff pharmacist with Kimbrough.
“With lockdowns common worldwide, pharmacies are an example of a business that has remained open to serve the public during these trying times,” she added. “We have worked tirelessly for several months to ensure the mission of providing optimal healthcare to our patients.”
In past years, Kimbrough has celebrated with games, trivia, food and prizes.
“It is always a way to boost the morale of the team and show that they are not forgotten,” Borden said.
This year’s observance is different because of social distancing and the use of face coverings.
“Our patients will not be able to benefit from the information tables that are filled with trinkets, pamphlets and brochures, and one-on-one interaction with the clinical pharmacy staff,” Borden said.
The Pharmacy enables the Army’s priorities of a ready medical force and a medically ready force, along with providing education and subject matter expertise on all medication-related subjects to impact patient safety.
“Pharmacists work collaboratively with patients and other health care providers,” Borden said.
The education and training pharmacists receive includes assessing health status of patients, providing education and counseling, managing diseases, and using healthcare technologies.
“Pharmacists use this education and training to prevent medication errors, drug interactions, and other adverse medication events from reaching patients.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic changed how Kimbrough provides Pharmacy services to beneficiaries through the implementation of curbside pharmacy services, patients at Kimbrough are able to fill prescriptions at two locations on Fort Meade: The Main Pharmacy, located within the Kimbrough facility, and the PX Refill Pharmacy, located in the Main PX.
The new process has ensured patient and staff safety, but there have been challenges for pharmacy staff.
“The biggest challenge has been missing the face-to-face encounters with our patients,” Borden said.
However, she looks forward to being able to celebrate this observance with patients once the pandemic has passed.
“Once the pandemic is over, we will be sure to have our patients take part in some of the fun again.”