Ask the Expert: Pharmacy’s Role in Surgical Care

10.1 Blog

In honor of National Pharmacists Month, Tina Yip, Pharmacist at Hospital for Special Surgery, answers your questions on Pharmacy’s role with care before and after surgery.

Q1. How does Pharmacy aid in preparation for surgery?

The Pharmacy Department calls all same day surgery patients 48 hours prior to their arrival at HSS. We review the patient’s home medications and update the profile with any new, discontinued or modifications to their medications including dose and frequency. Reviewing your medications in full with the pharmacy helps make sure we give you the right medication at the right dose and time.

Q2. How does Pharmacy play a role in recovering from surgery?

The Pharmacy Department plays a key role in the patient’s recovery, including making sure that the medications you are receiving are accurate with respect to dose, frequency and route as well as reviewing for drug interactions and others.

Q3. What kinds of services are offered during a patient’s stay?

Patients are continuously receiving pharmacy services throughout their stay including from the time the pharmacy reviews their meds pre-op or receives their pre-op antibiotic prophylaxis until they’re discharged with their prescriptions.

Q4. What advice/counsel do you offer patients for pain medications and orthopedic procedures?

The Pharmacy Department plays a central role on pain management committees looking for opportunities for improvement with pain medication efficacy and safety. We suggest you carefully review all information about your pain medications including dose, frequency and side effects. It’s important to take your medications exactly as prescribed and to communicate any significant side effects such as confusion, severe drowsiness and breathing difficulties, unable to urinate or falling to your physician. You should also communicate bothersome side effects including constipation, nausea & vomiting, itchiness, dry mouth, dizziness or vision problems to your physician as well.

Q5. What should a patient do in the event of a post-op allergy?

A patient should call for an ambulance (in the US and Canada, dial 9-1-1) if you develop any of the symptoms listed below:

  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Passing out or feeling as if you will pass out
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat

Call your doctor or nurse if you develop any of the symptoms listed below:

  • Hives (raised red welts on the skin that are usually very itchy)
  • Feeling like you want to hurt or kill yourself
  • Severe stomach ache or vomiting
  • High fever
  • Painful skin
  • Skin blisters
  • Pain and irritation of the pink, moist tissue that lines the eyes, mouth, vagina, and other organs
The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.

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