Magazine article Drug Topics

Kidney Dialysis Opens New Counseling Door for R.Ph.S

Magazine article Drug Topics

Kidney Dialysis Opens New Counseling Door for R.Ph.S

Article excerpt

The tables are turned, and suddenly the pharmacist is the patient. What are the repercussions? One New York State R.Ph. has taken on a crusade to encourage pharmacists to act as counselors to patients on dialysis.

Harriet Ellis, a director of pharmacy with New York City Health & Hospital Corp.'s Renaissance Health Core Network, went into kidney failure six months ago and became a candidate for peritoneal dialysis. This type of dialysis is administered through a catheter inserted in a permanent opening, or stoma, in a patient's side. The dialyzing solution is infused into the peritoneal cavity and then drained, pulling out the toxins.

"This type of dialysis is commonly administered by the patient in the home," Ellis said. It differs from hemodialysis, which involves an exchange of blood and is performed in the hospital. Ellis does the procedure four times each day.

The biggest shock to Ellis when she began treatment was how little she knew about her own condition. "I'm a pharmacist, and I thought I knew a lot about this area," she said. "But when I needed treatment myself, I became aware of what I didn't know.

"It's important for the pharmacist to learn about this type of dialysis and to act as counselor to the patient receiving it," Ellis asserted. And it's especially important for an R.Ph. to monitor a dialysis patient's drug regimen, because if a dialysis patient suffers an adverse reaction or side effect while taking a drug, "things can really get out of control. …

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