BC Wildfires – Accessing Medications and Providing Continuity of Care
In the past week, British Columbia has seen a surge of more than 150 wildfires across the province.
As of August 23, there were approximately 70 active wildfires burning across the province, with the majority located in the Southeast Fire Centre and the Kootenay region.
ACCESSING MEDICATIONS YOU MAY NEED
If you have been displaced by an evacuation, you can visit a pharmacy near you to access an emergency supply of medications you may need. The College’s Find a Pharmacy tool can help you locate a pharmacy in the community where you are staying.
Medical records may be difficult to access during a disaster or state of emergency. If you rely on a prescription, talk to your primary health care provider or pharmacist about how to keep an extra supply or valid prescription in your emergency kit and grab and go bags.
To learn more about how to prepare for an emergency, visit gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC.
Visiting Your Pharmacy
Patients are reminded to continue to take the necessary precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Patients are asked to avoid visiting a pharmacy in person if you are unwell or self-isolating, and to always practice social distancing while in a pharmacy or when receiving a delivery of medications.
If you are feeling unwell and require medications, please do not visit your pharmacy. Instead, CALL your pharmacy and they will arrange to safely provide you with any medications you may need.
Avoid entering a pharmacy if you exhibit any of the following symptoms identified by the BC Centre for Disease Control:
- Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing
- Sore throat and painful swallowing
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Loss of sense of smell
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
- You are required to self isolate due to travel or other potential exposure to COVID-19
Many pharmacies provide delivery services which can help patients – especially those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 – avoid visiting a pharmacy in-person.
Patients can also arrange to have someone to pick up their medications for them.
Learn more at: bcpharmacists.org/COVID19
PROVIDING CONTINUITY OF CARE FOR PATIENTS
Professional Practice Policy 31 – Emergency Supply for Continuity of Care outlines what’s expected of pharmacists when providing patients with an emergency supply of prescription drugs for continuity of care in exceptional circumstances in accordance with the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act Bylaws section 19(7)(d).
The policy provides broad latitude for pharmacist decisions on emergency supplies, provided it is in the patient’s best interest and all decisions are properly documented with rationale.
- See information for from PharmaCare on Patient Care During States of Emergency and Evacuations.
PharmaNet also plays an important role in supporting continuity in care by allowing a pharmacist to review a patient’s prescriptions and medication history regardless of what pharmacy a patient typically uses.
Pharmacy professionals and patients can also contact the First Nations Health Authority at 1-855-550-5454 (Extension 2 then Extension 4) for benefits information and to verify patient identification information.
- BCCDC Wildfires and COVID19
- Emergency Info BC
- Information for Residents and Evacuees Affect by Wildfire (Emergency Info BC)
- Interactive Map of Wildfire Evacuation Alerts and Orders (Emergency Info BC)
- Wildfire smoke and air quality
- Health and safety around fire retardants/suppressants
- Wildfire Information (FNHA)
- Benefits Information (FNHA)