Transforming Pharmacy Services at Almonte General Hospital

agh_logoWith financial support from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s Small Rural Northern Transformation Fund, Almonte General Hospital (AGH) and its partners in the Champlain Alliance of Small Hospitals have been engaged in projects designed to transform the delivery of Pharmacy services in our organizations.

Pharmacy leaders from Almonte & Carleton Place (shared Director), Arnprior, Barry’s Bay, Deep River, Glengarry, Kemptville and Renfrew hospitals have been collaborating to identify opportunities for common policies, common formulary (drug inventory) and shared solutions to providing premixed or specialty medications.

They have also been working together to enhance the safe dispensing of medication to patients by implementing “unit dose”, a drug distribution system endorsed by both the Institute for Safe Medication Practice and Accreditation Canada.

Two important components of this system are packaging oral medication in single dose packages and changing the way drugs are is stored in patient care areas to safely stock and dispense each patient’s medication.

Over the coming few weeks, AGH’s Pharmacy will undergo a major renovation to create space for the installation of a packaging machine that will serve both AGH and Carleton Place District Memorial Hospital. Sharing this equipment builds on the strong collaboration that already exists between the organizations and is a cost effective solution for two small hospitals within easy driving distance of each other.

Minor renovations will also be taking place in the Emergency Department and the Medical/Surgical Unit to accommodate new Automated Dispensing Units. Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians will stock these ADUs with individually packaged medication produced by the packager.

The ADU drawers will be accessed by Nurses based on each patient’s specific prescription. Security features built into the ADUs will help to ensure that the right medication is removed from the drawers by the right member of the care team. The result – a safer medication delivery system for our patients.

This is another example of collaboration with our health system partners providing improved patient care. We are grateful for the contributions and support of the CASH hospitals, the Champlain LHIN and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.