Pharmacies: a quality of life partner for patients with osteoarthritis

Can pharmacists help to improve the health of their clients? We visited a pharmacy in Barcelona that has set up a follow up programme for patients with osteoarthritis. The goal is to offer healthcare education and to help them in controlling this chronic disease which affects more than 7 million Spanish citizens. 

Elisa Elías- Patient with osteoarthritis
I've had osteoarthritis for about ten years, more or less, but I've noticed that over the last three years or so that it's stronger. My knee locked up a bit, I couldn't walk so I had to go to the traumatologist and after a few injections, my mobility improved substantially.

Eloi Merencio- Neighbourhood Pharmacist Naudín Pharmacy (Barcelona)
What we noticed was that the patients with osteoarthritis many times in the healthcare system have short visitation time. People blame it on age, and they're used to living with this little burden. We set up a service including four visits: a first one where we sit down, see what's really happening to the patient, we see the status of the situation, what they take, whether or not they're taking it correctly, what illnesses they have. We check see if they do it right, if we can improve or suggest something and then propose pharmaceutical treatments and non-pharmacological measures.

"Very good Elisa, well first of all, can you assess how your knee pain feels on a scale from 0 to 10 as we always do? Oh, very good. Well yes, I'm doing really well and if I have to evaluate both knees, I'd give them a three"

Elisa Elías- Patient with osteoarthritis
Since the doctor's visit, I have been taking chondroitin sulfate. I am now in the ninth month, I've noticed really great improvement. I can move a lot better, I don't have pains and I'm using much less paracetamol.

Eloi Merencio- Neighbourhood Pharmacist Naudín Pharmacy (Barcelona)
I have to try to add something more, to add value to the healthcare system so that in the end there aren't robots in the pharmacies that print out how patients have to take the medication, so that pharmacies don't have to become supermarkets and so that pharmacists aren't mere spectators in the healthcare system.

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